Julie De Libran, who successfully leads Sonia Rykiel for the last couple of years under her creative direction, decided to enter a new field with the brand – just on time of its 50th anniversary. Opening a haute couture line felt quite unexpected, since the founder of the house never really ventured into such bourgeois echelons of fashion. However, to a surprise of many, the collection represented everything that Rykiel stood in the past, and stands for today: female independence; easiness; joie de vivre. At first, I found this collection as lacking edit. But when I looked at it again, I noticed all of its true grace. From that evening gown with black feather insert and a huge blue ribbon belt that Kristen Owen wore to Małgosia Bela’s fringed knitted vest-dress, those one-of-a-kind pieces looked frivolous and chic. Note that over-sized cardigan made of different yarns (styled with see-through dress) – gorgeous, isn’t it? The only point of the collection that could have been done differently was the closing look, bride look spefically, which was basically a Martin Margiela knock-off from 1991. Even though De Libran had good intentions – to convey the spirit of a liberated wedding look, with denim and feathers – it’s important to give credit where credit’s due.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
I’ve been quite absent for the last week, because of a really nasty flu – but this doesn’t mean I wasn’t peeking at the splash of pre-fall collections. Well, that already seems like a dull season, to be honest. But one label really did caught my eye.
Julie de Libran‘s take on Sonia Rykiel has fluctuating results – sometimes, her collections can be described as just ‘basic’, with no depth or any braver concept. However, as in case of pre-fall 2018, there are the right shots. “It’s just a sweater, a skirt, and a good boot,” she might have said modestly. Still, those look more than ‘just good’. And how Parisian (sorry for the cliché, but it’s a fact!). The leather coat-dress in ecru is gorgeous, just like the semi-sheer jacquard gowns in red and navy. Seems like a perfect New Year’s Eve go-to wardrobe, if only it came early enough to the stores… After more than three years of creative direction, it feels that de Libran and Rykiel brand built a strong bond. The designer revealed that she recently became a shareholder and partner in Sonia Rykiel. “I’m part of the family now”. With such great collections coming, Julie proves she succesfully continues the legacy of the late, Left Bank Parisienne.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Sonia Rykiel passed away at the age of 86 last August, leaving behind a legacy of liberating, and truly feminist womenswear. Her last collection (back in 2008) highlighted an end of an era, and for a few seasons the brand vanished from the press. Of course, there were many attempts of bringing back the spotlight; but only the appearance of Julie De Libran resulted in the label’s return to prosperity. And I bet that Sonia would be happy to see Libran’s work at the iconic, rooted on Boulevard du Saint Germain maison.
Instead of mourning black, Julie did spring-summer 2017 in a very Sonia way. Of course, the collection focused on knitwear, one of the most recognisable codes of the brand. Over-sized sweaters with voluminous sleeves, knitted maxi-dresses and soft tunics caught the eye of every Parisienne who sat front-row. Sonia opened her first boutique in 1968, a memorable year filled with street demonstrations and general strikes in France. Freedom was always synonymous with Rykiel’s fashion: that’s why the creative director sent out a line of care-free dresses and drifty flares. Perfect wardrobe samples for a woman, who wants to move forward, and never look back. At the end of the show, models wore sweaters with letters, forming RYKIEL FOREVER – a beautiful ode to Sonia.
Sonia Rykiel has passed away today in the morning, leaving the world of fashion cry.
Throughout her career, Rykiel was called ‘The Undisputed Queen of Knitwear‘, while her fashion – the quintessence of Parisian chic. Her thin jumpers left the neck uncluttered, giving French women comfort of ready-to-wear and a sense of freedom. Sonia’s timeless designs were expressed in every possible version of knitwear, from the warmest mohair to the softest jersey. During her first successes in the 60s, her brand’s tricot pieces absolutely differed from old, heavy silhouettes. Also, she created the myth of St. Germain girl – a Parisian femme, who lives on the Left Bank (very likely next to her first flagship store on Boulevard du St. Germain, opened back in 1968) and lives her effortless, care-free life. But most of all, Sonia Rykiel’s fashion was frivolous, feminine and relaxed, and it brought happiness to the clients and the industry. Her legacy still does.
Current creative director of the house is Julie de Libran, who succeeds in continuing Sonia’s legacy. As for a little cheer-up – Libran’s furry tote from her recent autumn-winter 2016 collection. At least, we are sure that Rykiel’s label is in good hands.
But still, Sonia will be sorely missed.