175 BOULEVARD SAINT-GERMAIN

A house in the heart of Saint Germain with Saint Germain at its heart. The Sonia Rykiel flagship provides a quirky home for the ready to wear and accessories collections in a book-lined casket of lipstick red and midnight blue. The address is equally home to the design teams and the dedicated Rykiel Atelier, testimony to the bubbling creativity which is so central to the continuing success of Rykiel.

JULIE DE LIBRAN

As the artistic director of Sonia Rykiel since 2014, she retraces familiar paths while offering up fresh elements of surprise, season after season. Born in Provence and raised in California, Julie de Libran worked for a number of Italian fashion houses before returning to France, like Prada or Louis Vuitton.

Photo of Julie de Libran by David Bailey

Stripes and calligraphy portraits. Red as an alternate black, colors that pop. Dreams, absolutely. Paris, the capital of high heels, champagne and liberty. Guipure and tweed. A fur collar applied like a sweep of lipstick to a redingote.

She stamps freedom in capital letters on gold buttons: S.R. “Rykiel is a label and a history rich in inspirations. Every day I discover different facets, because everything about Rykiel speaks of today’s woman. Movement, seduction, conviction, strength. It’s an attitude. It’s about gestures.”

For Julie de Libran, the Rykiel woman is most of all “moving forward. Open-minded. Free-spirited. Emancipated. A woman who is open, loves travel, and continually evolves. A dreamer and an optimist.”

Photo of Sonia Rykiel by Dominique Issermann

SONIA RYKIEL

“I invented an image, a paper woman written in the folds of fabric, the yarn of knits, the colours of flesh, I gave her outward signs of luxury, happiness, a modern wrapping, a day-by-day destiny, a pure outline with smudges, a story.”
— Sonia Rykiel

With a sweater, Sonia Rykiel created a signature. She declared black a colour. Even her red hair became an icon. Saint-Germain-des-Prés, an area of Paris was reconsecrated under her tenancy as the home of a certain allure, of left-bank cool.

Crowned the “Queen of Knitwear” by Women’s Wear Daily in 1967, Rykiel conquered fashion by twisting it to her own ends. She invented la démode, or “unfashion”, transgressing the established codes of garment construction and the notion of ‘total look’: stripping out linings, leaving edges raw, turning stitches inside-out, even forsaking hems. The Rykiel woman was established - a Parisienne on the move, sensual and independent, walking, inspired by Alberto Giacometti. Stripes, inner pockets and strass or sequin trompe l’oeil became the recognisable codes of the house.

Sonia Rykiel’s style was inseparable from a passion for words, the ones the designer used to illuminate sweaters, which she recomposed in her books, from “Je la voudrais nue” [“And I Would Like Her Nude”] (Grasset, 1979) to “N’oubliez pas que je joue” [“Don’t forget I’m playing”] (L’Iconoclaste, 2012).

Key dates
Boutique 6 rue Grenelle
1968

Creates the Sonia Rykiel label, opens a first boutique in Saint-Germain-des-Prés at 6 rue de Grenelle Paris 6th.

Sonia Rykiel © Gilles Tapie Gilles Tapie
1972

Sonia Rykiel is crowned “Queen of Knits” by Women’s Wear Daily.

1973 Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode
1973

Sonia Rykiel is elected vice-president to French fashion’s governing body, the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode. She would fulfill this post for twenty years.

Collection Spring Summer 1977 Didier Destal
1976

Unveiling of the Spring-Summer collection presenting her philosophy of the “démode”: “I invented the démode. This means that fashion should come from the self and not from the rules.”

Sonia Rykiel pour le catalogue des 3 Suisses Ted Bates
1977

Sonia Rykiel designs three looks for mass-market distribution through the mail order catalogue Les 3 Suisses, becoming the first fashion designer to initiate that kind of collaboration.

Premier livre de Sonia Rykiel
1979

Éditions Grasset publishes Sonia Rykiel’s first book, Et je la voudrais nue (And I would have her nude). Beginning of the collaboration with Dominique Issermann. Launch of a first women’s perfume, 7e sens.

SONIA RYKIEL ENFANT Graziano Ferrari
1983

Sonia Rykiel Enfant’s first collections are launched under Nathalie Rykiel’s direction.

INSCRIPTION RYKIEL Marie-Laure de Decker
1989

Launch of Inscription Rykiel, a lower-priced ready-to-wear line. It would be renamed Sonia By Sonia Rykiel in 1999.

Sonia et Nathalie Rykiel Taro Terasawa
1995

Nathalie Rykiel is named managing director and artistic director, then, in 2007, president of Sonia Rykiel.

Sac Domino Zanna
2001

The Domino bag achieves it-bag status.

40ème anniversaire de la maison Sonia Rykiel
2008

A 40th anniversary event pays tribute to Sonia Rykiel. The 30 most influential fashion designers in the world, from Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alber Elbaz to Martin Margiela, celebrate their vision of the Rykiel woman during a fashion show extravaganza organized by Nathalie Rykiel. The “Sonia Rykiel Exhibition” is staged at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. It opens in 2008 ending in April 2009.

Sonia Rykiel invitée par H&M Stéphane Feugère
2009

The brand collaborates with H&M on two collections.

Villa Eugénie
2012

Sonia Rykiel joins Hong Kong group First Heritage Brands.

Julie de Libran
2014

Julie de Libran is named artistic director of Sonia Rykiel.

Sac Le Copain
2016

Release of “Le Copain” bag.

Rykiel For Ever
2017

Julie de Libran reinterprets a collection a knit collection, tribute to Sonia Rykiel, Rykiel for Ever.