Sonia Rykiel, the “Queen of Knitwear”, has died at the age of 86. The fun loving, bright haired designer has unfortunately lost her battle with Parkinson’s disease. Rykiel had been fighting her battle with Parkinson’s for more than 15 years. Attempting to mask her illness, she kept her condition a secret for as long as she possibly could. Rykiel finally let the world know of her illness in 2012 due to the lack of ability to hide her symptoms.
“My mother died at 5 a.m. this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s” announced her daughter Nathalie Rykiel.
Sonia Rykiel was known for her desire to showcase and accentuate the natural shape of the female body. Being self conscious about your body was not a rule in Rykiel’s book. Her goal was to design clothes that represented a woman’s perspective of what being sexy felt like rather than what men thought sexy should be. She made clothes to move gracefully with the body not against it. Traditional was not a word you associated with Sonia Rykiel. Whether it was changing the sequence of how many models walked down the runway or telling women to go braless, Rykiel often found herself on the opposite side of the traditional standard when it came to fashion. Her uniqueness caught the attention of those like Audrey Hepburn.
Sonia Rykiel dedicated 40 years to the fashion industry and her effect on the industry was apparent. She was presented the Order of the Legion d’Honneur in 2009 as recognition for her dedication and contribution to the fashion industry for such a long period of time.
Sonia Rykiel’s talent and passion to liberate a woman’s body and confidence will be missed. With Nathalie Rykiel as the managing director and Julie de Libran as the artistic director, Rykiels values and vision will live on.