History: Sonia Rykiel

6 Nov

The Queen of Knits

I never knew that there was such a title, nor that Sonia Rykiel was the possessor of that moniker given by Women’s Wear Daily. However, after shallowly delving into a pool of history, I’ve discovered a designer with a great perspective on knitwear.

We often think of impeccably tailored suits and sparkling evening gowns for the runway. But knitwear? It’s nothing new, but not what you’d normally think. I found myself loving Sonia Rykiel in all her Parisian glory and fiery hair.


How Did It Get Started?

Sonia Rykiel founded her label in Paris, France 1968 without prior fashion education. What prompted her into the fashion world was simply trying to find the perfect soft sweater when she was pregnant…something cropped and fitted….so she designed one herself! The Poorboy sweater, her first creation, was sold under her husband’s label of “Laura.” It eventually made the cover ELLE magazine, which made her famous.

She revolutionized the industry by using inside-out stitching, no hems, and unlined garments to create la dé-mode, or “unfashion”. Her signatures are black, stripes, rhinestones, lace, and messages written on sweaters. She loves long clinging sweaters, small cropped pullovers, large rolled back cuffs and long shawls. Her collections are very Parisian…chic, elegant, and feminine.

In 1980 she was considered as one of the world’s 10 most elegant women and has been likened to Coco Chanel. Sonia Rykiel’s collections show that knitwear can be trendy and will never be outdated. She most recently debuted the idea of using furs in non traditional colors, especially bright colors.

How is it now?

Sonia and her daughter, Nathalie, design for the label. After the 40th anniversary last year, Sonia Rykiel’s runway presentations seem to be as fun, girly, and chic as ever. Models smiling and being silly on stage…models can smile? LOL. Anyways, figure-hugging sweaters and silhouettes are still the norm…if you have found perfection in knitwear…why mess with it? There are Sonia Rykiel boutiques in Boston, New York and Guam.

Personal Preferences

I love the idea of a sweater suit instead of traditional suit, but I have yet to see that played out in the office. Sonia Rykiel is definitely one designer I’ll be keeping tabs on. I’ve always had trouble with knits because they never seem to hang right on my body, it’s either too bulky or too thin…maybe I just have to see if her signature knits can solve my sweater problems.



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