Fashion Designer Sonia Rykiel Dies at 86

August 29, 2016 | By French Culture Arts
Dominique Issermann

“I think creativity is inside you,” Ms. Rykiel told The Times Magazine in 1982. “If you have something to tell, you expose it. I never went to design school. I was so strong in my thinking and my way of seeing fashion, I knew exactly what I wanted. I said to myself, ‘I have no limits.’”

In 1962, Sonia Rykiel designed and manufactured the first knitwear line to embrace the female form. It was an immediate success. In 1968, Rykiel opened her first shop in Saint-Germain des Prés in Paris. She quickly became the queen of knitted fabric with her signature mini-sweaters. In 1974 she invented the first clothes with exposed seams and promoted the unfinished style. Rykiel also helped pioneer the use of black in fashion and pop culture. For her, color was synonymous with seduction and freedom. She shifted away from “l’élégance bourgeoise” of the 1970s, and challenged long held taboos. From the salons to the catwalks, black symbolized the modernity of the Rykiel brand. Rykiel also played with words, both as inscriptions on clothes, as poetic slogans, and in books. She was an exceptional woman who enthralled many in the worlds of both fashion and art. Her style is both immediate and timeless.

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