A tribute to Sonia Rykiel

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'In the mirror I see not only my face, but also who I am, who I have always been and hopefully will be for as long as possible. I don't think I'm beautiful, but I do think I'm special' - Sonia Rykiel, 'What I see in the mirror' The Guardian

Yesterday, it was confirmed that the Queen of knitwear Sonia Rykiel died in her home in Paris, aged 86. Rykiel wanted women to look powerful, to give them complete freedom of movement, she embraced and pioneered textile techniques such as exposed seams and created slogan knitwear, although it wasn't new to Paris in the 1960's it was new for knitwear to be so fashionable, which she did so with bold stripes or black and with that, the poor boy sweater was born. It was later spotted by French Elle and featured on the cover of their magazine, notable as at the time couture was the main feature of Elle.

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'Everything I do is an expression of myself through colours and shapes, and at the same time, I try to explain what I feel as not only a creator, but also as a woman. I cannot separate one from another.' - Sonia Rykiel 

While in her early 20's she married a boutique owner, and when pregnant could not find any clothes she liked among the unforgiving and thick style of clothing at the time and so started to design and make her own stylish, form-fitting and comfortable garments. Her husband started selling her designs and as demand rose she opened her own fashion house on Paris' Left Bank in 1968. Fans of her early work ranged from Audrey Hepburn to Bridgette Bardot, women who sought for freedom of the restrictive fashion of the time. She proposed her pieces to be for all women of different ages.

"A scarf has to be the most beautiful thing ever invented to wear! It a winding, a continuity, an infinity. I love things that are endless I hate them to stop. It's like order and disorder: I rather love disorder and things that can move, it's a state in which I can get things done." - Sonia Rykiel

She created a fashion house with attitude, that promoted feminism and embraced the beauty of women. But not only did she touch many in the fashion industry, but her individuality and charm touched the likes of Andy Warhol who once painted her "I think he liked my hair" she later commented. Cafe de Flore also named a table and sandwich after her, the cafe can be found on Paris' left bank near the location of her fashion house.

"My favourite feature is my hair. It has always made me look different. It was so red when I was born that my mother thought it was blood on my head" -  Sonia Rykiel, 'What I see in the mirror' The Guardian

Sonia Rykiel has no doubt left her stamp on the fashion industry and will be surely missed by many. Julie de Libran took over as creative director in 2014, for their latest collection de Libran has included some prints of Sonia, her daughter Nathalie and her granddaughter Lola, which will be released in stores in a few weeks and perhaps this is the perfect homage. Rest in Peace Sonia.

Photo Credit: 1/2/3/4

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