Tag Archives: History

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.

susan-and-soniarykiel-370x493

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 Sonia Rykiel’s collections show that knitwear can be trendy and will never be outdated.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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History: Comme des Garçons

20 Oct

When I think avant garde, Comme des Garçons comes up as one of the few I remember off the top of my head. With interesting silhouettes, a play on proportions, and a cerebral take on clothing design, this label rocks the boat of fashion trends. So unique and different from other fashion houses, Comme des Garçons is on the cutting edge and has a singular perspective that few can attempt to recreate.

Highlights from Spring RTW ’09 Collection

How Did It Get Started?

Founded in 1969 by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo, Japan, the label means “like the boys” in French. In 1981, Comme des Garçons debuted at Paris Fashion Week with a predominantly black palette, and a distressed style which contradicted the popular trends of the period. With their asymmetrical deconstructed tailoring, they go against the grain while playing with different expressions of body shape. They were a highly avant garde.

Highlights from Spring RTW ’10 Collection


How Is It Now?

Comme des Garçons have branched out from the monochrome black to utilize other colors, textures and patterns. The more recent collections are more mainstream while holding true to their signature designs. Also, they created their own line of unisex perfume with non-traditional scents and notes. As for stores, they have boutiques, department shop space, and “guerrilla” stores. The guerrilla CDG stores would be placed away from fashionable avenues in the cities to be open for a year with a tight budget for the interior design.

In addition to their own lines of apparel, accessories, and perfume, Comme des Garçons have collaborated with many companies, such as H&M. Due to the success of the company, designers Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara have created sub-labels under their own names and have gained much success.

Highlights from Fall RTW ’09 Collection

Personal Preferences:

Although I don’t really “get” most of the clothes, I do appreciate the beauty and the artistic expression that is so vividly shown through the collections. Some of their more realistically wearable pieces and collaborations are quite lovely. I especially love the checkered jacket/dress from the Fall RTW  ’09 collection. From afar, it looks pretty standard, but up close…it’s unique and interesting. The more I look at the Comme des Garçons collections, the more I like it. It’s an art piece and yet it’s clothing at the same time.

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They create their own line of unisex perfume with non-traditional scents and notes. Also, they created guerrilla stores which would be open for a year and spend a minimal amount of money on the interior which would be located away from fashionable hubs in the cities.

History: Burberry

20 Aug

Burberry.

Everyone  recognizes their famous pattern and trench coats.

Traditional Signatures

How Did It Get Started?

In 1856, Thomas Burberry opened his own store that specialized in outdoors wear in England. He invented gabardine in 1880 and during WWI in 1914, he was commissioned to adapt officer coats for warfare which lead to the creation of the signature trench coats. Soon following, the haymarket check pattern and the equestrian knight logo appeared on many of their items. Burberry became synonymous to classic tailored clothing.

How Is It Now?

In the past couple years, they’ve revamped the pattern into the Nova check, which looks like a rotated and expanded version of the haymarket check. The signature pattern is subtly visible on clothing, accessories, and other items. There is an increased use of different fabrics and textures for their distinctive trench coats which adds a fresh perspective on a classic garment. It seems like they’re aiming to create an edgy twist on classic styles.

Also, Japan is the only country to carry the Burberry Blue Label that features more fitted clothing that’s aimed for a younger consumer.

Contemporary Updates

Personal Preferences:

I love Burberry’s style with classic, clean lines…it’s very no-muss, no-fuss kind of clothing. If I could get anything from Burberry, I’d want the signature trench coat (tan/black, cropped), the new check pleated cashmere scarf, and the new Burberry check Lowry bag. I do enjoy classic staple items.

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