Famed French designer Sonya Rykiel has died at the age of 86, her daughter confirmed today, 25th of August. Sonia had been suffering with Parkinson’s disease for over 19 years to date.
In 2012 after some speculation, Sonia Rykiel revealed in her last book ‘N’Oubliez Pas Que Je Joue’ the ambiguous French fashion designer had been living with Parkinson’s disease for 15 years and she could no longer hide the disease’s symptoms from her family and friends. On Thursday, she died at her home peacefully alongside her family in Paris. Sonia’s death was also declared by the Élysée Palace, the office of the French president.
Famous for many things, Sonia Rykiel challenged the thresholds in fashion. The brand was and is still known for its stunning knitwear, its fun use of colour and at the same time, its lack of. “My colour is black. And black, if it’s worn right, is a scandal.” A woman of our own hearts. Rykiel’s projected woman was a working mother with practical day to day issues but again, she wanted to aim the brand towards that woman who still wanted the best of style. A woman who was on the pulse of emerging trends with a modest tag attached. The difference between another couture brand saying this and Sonia Rykiel saying it was that in Sonia’s case, it really was in the brand’s heritage. Sonia was a writer outside of being a world renowned designer and she understood her clientele. She lived and breathed the Sonia Rykiel life.
“She is fragile, but strong. We are working women. Also, we have the problem of children, of men, to take care of our houses, so many things. I try to explain that in my clothes. They are clothes for everyday life.” A quote that Ms Rykiel became recognised for in The New York Times in 1987. “I think creativity is inside you. If you have something to tell, you expose it. I never went to any 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.’ ”
The 1980’s were officially when the Sonia Rykiel brand became a household name. It was spread across almost every fashion publication because of her expanding line which included menswear, lingerie and accessories. Even during the most horrible of days with her disease, Sonia continued to write and attend couture fashion shows. With Sonia Rykiel’s daughter Natalie being Artistic Director of her mother’s brand, we hope to see it blossom furthermore.
RIP Sonia Rykiel.