Sonia Rykiel: Madame Knitwear

The fashion world woke up with the sad news of the passing of Sonia Rykiel this past August, 25th. Madame Rykiel started her career as a fashion designer back in 1961, when she began to design for herself at the time she was pregnant with her second child. Her keen eye for comfort and all things chic, made her create beautiful knitwear pieces that have stood the test of time. This influential designer helped shape the contemporary and active woman’s wardrobe, and broke the rules of the runway when she sent out models in groups down the catwalk, rather than one by one during her 1988 show in Paris.

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When Rykiel launched her own fashion house in 1968, she took into account the Swinging Sixties craze and the emerging feminist movement across the world, all which she translated into her designs. For the first time in many years, her clothes liberated women since all of her pieces were easy-to-wear, yet feminine and plastered with bright prints. Her “Poor Boy Sweater” was the design that took her to fashion stardom due to its fresh take on this traditional piece, by making a shorter and skinny model of it with bulky stitches. This was a unique design for its time, and when Hollywood personalities like Brigitte Bardot and Andrey Hepburn were seen wearing Rykiel’s designs the world went BANANAS!

Over the decades she established her philosophy of “ la Demode” a contraction of “deconstruction and “mode” by inventing various design techniques like putting seams outside of a garment, leaving hems unfinished, using slogans on her sweaters and layering. While she branched out to fragrances and even books over the decades, Rykiel always remained true to knitwear with innovative shapes.

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The Parisian fashion designer was 86 when she passed from complications with a long battle Parkinson’s disease

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