Pin It
Sonia Rykiel death
Sonia RykielPhotography André Wolff; taken from the spring/summer 2008 issue of AnOther

Fashion designer Sonia Rykiel dies aged 86

The designer passes away after a 15-year battle with Parkinson’s

French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel, also known as the Queen of Knitwear, has passed away aged 86 after a 15-year battle with Parkinson’s.

The news was first reported by her daughter Nathalie who told the AFP news agency, “My mother died at 5:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s.”

Born in Paris in 1930, Rykiel went on to create a label that epitomised the city’s ‘Parisian chic’ style. In the 60s, she designed flattering knits which were often striped and skin-tight, and thus credited with liberating women’s bodies from the stiff silhouette of the previous decade.

Rykiel retired in 2009 and handed over the reins to a series of successors. Since 2014, the label has been helmed by Julie de Libran who previously worked as right-hand woman to Marc Jacobs during his tenure at Louis Vuitton.

French President François Hollande’s has expressed his condolences to those who knew and loved the designer, calling her a pioneer who “invented not only a look, but also an attitude, a way of living and being”. He also said Rykiel’s style “will remain a symbol of her remarkable work with colour and nature, fluidity and light.”

Update: the brand has issued a statement in which its artistic director de Libran pays tribute to Rykiel.

“My first moment meeting Sonia Rykiel at her home will stay in my heart as a very beautiful memory. I was very touched by the charm and grace of this unique woman who truly defined what it means to be iconic. She will be greatly missed but her style, legacy and spirit will never be forgotten and will live on to continue inspiring women around the world.”