BREAKING: French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel dies at 86

Sonia Rykiel dies at 86 and leaves behind a legacy. Photo: nicogenin CC BY-SA 2.0.

The world has lost another great talent as French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel has died at the age of 86.

Rykiel, nicknamed the Queen of Knitwear, had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for some time before her death on Thursday.

Her daughter, Nathalie Rykiel, who is also managing and artistic director of the Sonia Rykiel fashion label, said: “My mother died at 05:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s.”
French President Francois Hollande praised her as “a pioneer”.

She said Rykiel, whose relaxed striped knitwear was seen as a shift away from more formal suits, had “offered women freedom of movement”.

Rykiel  who was born in Paris in May 1930, started her career as a window dresser in 1948, and made her breakthrough in 1962 with the “Poor Boy Sweater”, which had long sleeves and a fitted shape, reports BBC.

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Elle magazine then featured teenage pop star Francois Hardy wearing a red and pink striped Rykiel sweater on its cover in December 1963.

Brigitte Bardot was later photographed in a Rykiel creation, with Audrey Hepburn among her other famous fans.

sonia rykiel

Rykiel opened her first ready-to-wear store on Paris’s Left Bank in 1968.

In 2012, the designer revealed she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s 15 years earlier.
She had initially kept the condition private but wrote about her diagnosis in a book when her symptoms became too difficult to disguise, fashion site WWD said.

May you rest in peace, Sonia.