We all yearn to look stylish as well as being comfortable and Sonia Rykiel nailed it for us by transforming the way we embrace knitwear. Known as the ‘Queen of Knits’, Rykiel opened her first boutique on the fashionable Paris Left Bank in 1968. She very quickly became instantly recognizable – her striking red hair styled in a bob, with a heavy fringe made her a distinctive figure. A fusion of modern style and class.
Not able to find suitable clothing during her pregnancies, she sought the help of an Italian knitwear supplier to create a stylish and comfortable dress. Sweaters were soon to follow, designed to her specifications featuring high cut arm holes, a tight fit as if shrunken, styled in vibrant colours and classic stripes. The ‘Poor Boy’ sweater had arrived. We gobbled it up.
Long before the emergence of the Japanese deconstruction influence, Rykiel incorporated exposed seams and raw unfinished edges. The designs were taken up by luminaries such as Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve and who could blame them?
Adding a scarf and beret, the look resonated with those seeking comfort and style. Just look at that -Parisienne chic as stunning in 1997 as it is in 2017! Timeless design.
A distinguishing look was soon to emerge.
Using soft wools, mohair, cashmere and jerseys she broke away from a traditional look by adding playful elements. Along with traditional bows, came hearts, lips, cherries, and safety pins all giving way to the unexpected. This was right on trend and has remained so.
By venturing forth to create clothes for herself, Sonia Rykiel has left a legacy of style for the modern woman. Her passing in August this year has saddened all in the fashion world.