Sonia Rykiel, Fashion Designer and Industry Legend, Dies at 86

Sonia Rykiel, Fashion Designer and Industry Legend, Dies at 86

The Parisian designer passed away this morning, according to the office of the French President

The Parisian designer passed away this morning, according to the office of the French President

Text: William Defebaugh

French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel has passed away this morning at the age of 86.

Rykiel's passing was announced by the official office of the French president, and her daughter, Nathalie Rykiel (the artistic director of her family's namesake label), who reported: “My mother died at 5:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s.” It's a disease with which Rykiel has been struggling for fifteen years.

The legendary designer's influence in the fashion industry began in the '60s, when she began designing her ribbed knits and signature striped sweaters that accentuated the female body rather than confine it. In the first decade of female liberation, Rykiel reflected the evolving cultural atmosphere on the runway; her pieces can be seen a window into the way the world was changing, the way true fashion should. Her namesake brand continues its influence today with Julie de Libran, who has been at the helm since 2014 (Rykiel announced her retirement in 2009).

François Hollande, the French President, offered stirring words about the passing of one of his nation's heroes, whom he said, “invented not only a look, but also an attitude, a way of living and being," whose style "will remain a symbol of her remarkable work with colour and nature, fluidity and light.”

Sonia Rykiel's Fall 2016 ad campaign.

Credits: Courtesy of SoniaRykiel.com

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