Celebrating the Legacy of French Designer Sonia Rykiel
And the Parisian beauty collection that she left behind
Sonia Rykiel, the iconic French fashion designer and founder of the namesake Parisian fashion house, has passed away at 86 years old of complications with Parkinson's disease.
Rykiel, who defined the term "comfy-chic" far before it landed on the pages of fashion's unofficial glossary, revolutionized the way women wear clothing. She took basics like sweaters and turtlenecks and transformed them into statement pieces deserving of placements on the covers of Vogue and Elle. Though the designer was known for black monotone ensembles for her own wardrobe (a head full of fiery red hair was her brightest accessory), her bold-colored garments and signature striped knitwear can be seen on Hollywood sirens like Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot.
Rykiel’s fashion philosophy was rooted in creating clothes that worked for the everyday woman and embodied the elegant Parisian spirit. In a 1987 New York Times interview, Rykiel explained how she designed for the working woman and aimed to create everyday pieces. “We are working women," she said. "Also, we have the problem of children, of men, to take care of our houses, so many things. I try to explain that in my clothes. They are clothes for everyday life.”
Nathalie Rykiel, has since taken over as President of Sonia Rykiel Company, which her mother founded in 1968. And though the matriarch who ushered in a wave of attainable Parisian elegance is no longer with us, she's left another means of channeling our inner French girl. Recently, Rykiel partnered with Lancôme to create a limited edition fall makeup collection inspired by her first storefront in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. The collection captures much of Rykiel's effortless yet vibrant flair. Merci beaucoup, mon ami!