Leading Lady : Sonia Rykiel

"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.’”

Sonia Rykiel created her first design in the 1960's. She wanted a dress that would accentuate her pregnant figure but only found maternity clothes that concealed it. Her husband owned a boutique, and she worked with a supplier to make the dress. Soon after, Sonia designed the sweater that redefined knitwear and placed her at the forefront of a fashion industry that was shifting from couture to ready-to-wear clothing.

The Poor Boy sweater transformed knitwear from bulky work-wear to a body-hugging garment that was both practical and stylish. It was featured on the cover of French Elle during a time when couture still dominated and was worn by style icons around the world. Sonia continued to modernize fashion, being the first to use raw hems, exposed seams, and slogans. She disregarded trends and made clothing that was diverse, unpretentious, and ageless. Her fashion shows reflected the spirit of her clothes - celebrating each women's individuality.

Sonia Rykiel is synonymous with effortless Parisian style. She built a fashion empire, published several books, and helped design the interiors of some of Paris's most luxurious hotels. Sonia was a muse to Andy Warhol, was the inspiration for the film Prêt-à-Porter, and continues to inspire designers, artists, and outfits today. - Kelly Longhurst


Photo Credit : Timothy Greenfield-Sanders