The Sonia Rykiel Capsule Collection Spring 2017:
Sonia Rykiel, the queen of rainbow stripes and chic knits passed away in August 2016 at the age of 86. As a tribute to this revolutionary designer, Julie de Libran, creative director of the Parisian brand has released a special 13-piece capsule spring 2017 collection. The range which also counts accessories, has been re-created from the Sonia Rykiel archive. As expected, there are stripes in abundance and all knitwear pieces are sourced from and produced by the Venice-based knit factory Miles, with whom Sonia Rykiel have worked for 27 years. Our favourite piece is the ‘Rykiel Forever Knit Wrap’ in pink or black. It is a scarf/cape hybrid, emblazoned with the words ‘175 Saint Germain’, the address of Madame Rykiel’s landmark Parisian boutique.The collection is now available from Style.com and the London Sonia Rykiel boutique in Mayfair. AZ
Who was Sonia Rykiel?
The flamed haired designer was one of the pioneers of Left Bank style in the late 1960s. ‘Left Bank style’ is a fashion term that is bandied about today with little regard but back then, it stood as a revolutionary step away from stricter ready-to-wear styles that had hitherto dominated the French capital. Here was a style that was more improvised, encapsulating the laissez-faire, care-free and strong feminist attitude that was taking hold in the city, which came to a head with the Sorbonne uprising of 1968. True, Sonia Rykiel’s boutique collections were not meant for struggling students, but they did feed off the great cultural leaps of the era. Spelled out these were sexual liberation, female emancipation and the reclamation of ‘elitist’ high culture by the masses. Rykiel’s skinny ribbed ‘Poor Boy Sweater’ was first modelled by 60s icon Françoise Hardy and was quickly adopted by other beautiful stars of the era including Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn.
Rykiel made clothes for the modern woman who was cultured, well-read and who appreciated a new kind of luxury that was fun and exuberant. The velour top? That wasn’t Juicy Couture, it was Rykiel first in the 1970s. She also spearheaded slogan knitwear with her 1971 jumper emblazoned with the word ‘Sensuous’. It was a word that summed up her attitude to femininity, a term that she secretly abhorred. She once said, “I hate the word feminine. Feminine makes me think of someone who is spindly and over-sweet. I don’t like that!”
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