sonia rykiel

|| 25 August 2016

Sonia Rykiel

The French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel passed away earlier today. That her death was announced by the Élysée Palace, the office of the French president, speaks to the importance France places on fashion — as well as to how important Sonia Rykiel has been to French fashion.

French President Francois Hollande said: "She invented not just a style but an attitude, a way of living and being, and offered a freedom of movement."

In Chic & Slim, I quote Sonia Rykiel's statement about developing your own personal style. (Sonia Rykiel always wore black, the color looking all the more dramatic against her pale, pale skin and her flame of tangerine hair.)

On personal style Sonia Rykiel said that you must stand in front of the mirror a long time. This was her succinct French way of telling us three important things about developing a personal style.

First, a personal style takes time. Weeks. Months. Years. Second, developing your unique style takes effort. You must study and analyze what works for you. Many trials are necessary, you learn from your errors. Third, you, not others, must make the decisions on what constitutes your personal style.

Sonia Rykiel designed her first dress, a maternity dress for herself, when she could not find anything in the shops that suited her. From there she went on to design for other women. In their tribute The New York Times wrote:

The free-spirited Ms. Rykiel made fashions for women who, like herself, were proud of their pregnancies, sophisticated about sex and too busy to fuss over the latest designer fads — women who wanted to look smart, but needed to get on with their lives. Her target customer was the woman who wanted value and style.

The French newspaper Le Monde announced: La styliste Sonia Rykiel, créatrice d’une mode libre et insolente, est morte. The stylist Sonia Fykiel, creatrice of a free and sassy style, is dead.

Many online publications are paying tribute to the woman who reigned as Queen of Knitwear. Links to some of these tributes are below.

Sonia Rykiel tribute in the NY Times

Sonia Rykiel tribute in the LA Times

Sonia Rykiel tribute on BBC online

Sonia Rykiel tribute in Le Monde (French)

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

Image : Sonia Rykiel courtesy Sonia Rykiel's official website