Sonia Rykiel: Fashion Designer

Sonia Rykiel is a popular French fashion designer who was born in Paris in the 1930’s. She had her start in the fashion business when she worked to dress window displays in a Parisian textile store an early age of 17. Sonia later on married an owner of a boutique that sold elegant clothing. This provided Sonia with the environment from which she began to practice her skills in designing.

Actually, her first taste in designing came out of necessity. She wasn’t able to find any decent sweaters anywhere that would fit her when she was pregnant sometime in 1962. This made her decide to design her own with the help of a supplier in Venice that does business with her husband.

One of her first designing projects was creating designing maternity dresses as well as sweaters. The sweaters that she eventually designed became her trademark. Her first creation of sweaters was named Poor Boy Sweater and was sold under her husbands label "Laura". The sweater eventually made the cover of ELLE magazine. It became so popular that she was given the nickname as the "Queen of Knits" by Americans by 1967.

With her first sweaters, Sonia began experimenting with designs such as putting the seams from the inside out, and taking way the hem and the lining from her dresses. She eventually became known as the first designer to ever put the seams of clothes on the outside of the garment. She was also the first designer to put printed words on her sweaters.

By the 1980’s, Sonia was considered as one of the world’s most elegant women. She proved that knitwear can be used t follow any type of fashion trend. She brought about the idea of making big soft fur coats using colors such as baby pink, purple and blue. Sonia also helped brought about the DEMODE philosophy in fashion where the women are encouraged to adapt a fashion style that fits into one’s personality and style rather than that of following the current fashion trend.

Not only has Sonia focused on fashion design to express her creativity, she has also written a number of books that include those about fashion as well as a collection of children’s stories. Currently, Sonia and her daughter Nathalie run the Sonia Rykiel design house which also operates a number of boutiques in France and the US. Nathalie serves as the Artistic and Managing Director of her mother’s fashion design outfit.

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