The world has lost one of the biggest rebels in the history of women’s fashion today, as Sonia Rykiel has passed away in her Paris home from complications regarding Parkinson’s disease. This was announced by Elysée Palace, the office of the French President, as well as by her daughter Nathalie, who is the artistic director of her mother’s fashion house.
Known for designing for “Fragile, but Strong,” her impact upon the fashion industry can be likened in many ways to that of Coco Chanel in the 1920’s. She began designing fashion while pregnant with her second child, viewing the maternity clothing available at the time as shameful and suggesting embarrassment. This prompted her to make her own clothing that conveyed a celebration of the pregnant figure with with hugging skirts and sweaters. When looking at such and her future offerings, her fashion was directed towards women who wanted to look smart while being applicable to the working women. This is reflected in her comments to the New York Times in 1987, where she stated “We are working women. Also, we have the problem of children, of men, to take care of our houses, so many things. I try to explain that in my clothing. They are clothes for everyday life.”
Among her many accomplishments, was popular among popular names of her time including Anouk Aimée, Catherine Deneuve, Audrey Hepburn and Lauren Bacall. She was also conferred the Legion of Honor by two French Presidents. the nation’s highest honor. Her ambitious and rebellious take on women’s fashion has inspired many, as it will undoubtably continue to do so for generations to come.