Saturday, December 12

Sonia Rykiel, eyes for the whimsy of la femme

Sonia Rykiel, a whimsical French Designer with ethnic Polish Jewish roots, was born in Paris in 1930. She started her career in 1962 by chance, when she just couldn't find any soft sweaters to wear when she was pregnant. So she used a supplier to her husband from Venice to design her own. Sonia Rykiel created her first maternity dresses and tiny sweater and all began. With her trademarked red hair, a unique shine in her eyes and the sweater as her symbol, she was crowned "Queen of Knits" by the Americans in 1967. Now, the same baby that was in her womb, Nathalie, is the dedicated CEO of the company and lets mom still run free with the creative thoughts. Visit the website at You may watch her latest collection, Spring 2010 at

Sonia was the first designer to put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on her sweaters. In particular, she favours long clinging sweaters or small cropped pullovers, large rolled-back cuffs and long shawls. Her colours are usually beige, grey, dark blue and charcoal. Listen to her own words in the creative animation by Fashion Nation bellow.

"The Day Before", from Sundance channel,  documents the 40th anniversary of Rykiel’s brand, now managed in large part by her daughter and exposes the creative synergy between them.  As a surprise, Nathalie had renowned designers create garments inspired by Rykiel. After the show Gaultier told Sonia that he “owed so much to Rykiel”, to what she answered that she was waiting for a check...

Martin Margeila tribute to Sonia Rykiel

Christian Lacroix tribute to Sonia Rykiel

Paul Gaultier tribute to Sonia Rykiel

Sonia and Nathalie decided to bring Paris to New York and in February 2005 where Henri Bendel launched an in-store shop for the Sonia Rykiel Woman line. There are three Sonia Rykiel boutiques in the U.S. and they are in Boston, New York and Guam. Her collection can also be found at Saks.

Recently this month, Sonia Rykiel and H&M introduced a collection of underwear, "Sonia Rykiel pour H&M", the first of two operations with the Swedish retailer (the second will be available in February 2010). A prestigious event was held at the Grand Palais in Paris to celebrate the event. Visit the website at and watch videos of the event and collection bellow.

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