Sunday Best

Sonia Rykiel

Emma Smart

Fashion designer, eccentric, flamboyant, “Queen of Knitwear, who has died aged 86.

Born into a very bourgeois family, she was the oldest of five children, living in the plush Parisian suburb of Neuilly. Her father a Romanian watchmaker and Russian housewife mother.
She never intended to be a fashion designer, however chance and circumstances directed her there, when she married Sam Rykiel boutique owner and it was the start of pret-a-porter. She never trained as a designer, she just made clothes for herself and friends loved them,so she made more and together with a collegue from the left bank boutique, the designer was born.
Her forward thinking designs were know as “unfashion” with inside out stitching, no hems and was the first designer to use slogans and trompe l’oeil motif on her luxury knitwear. This creativity has been much used over the years with graffiti slogans on Louis Vuitton bags, when the creative director was Marc Jacobs, to Moschino and Dolce & Gabbana, who always playfully work on this theme. Anya Hindmarch has launched her new ready to wear collection and included fried eggs and ghost motifs. All these luxury designers are at the top of their game and did the Rykiel mode have an influence?

The buyers at Sunday Best on many occasions viewed her signature colourful collection, but never truly fell in love with it enough to buy it. However her creativity and sense of intellectual humour was admired and appreciated.

Her no size approach to fashion was her philosophy.” What counts is attitude” was her mantra.

Sonia RYKIEL born May 25 1930 died August 25 2016