French fashion designer, Sonia Rykiel, has died at age 86, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Her daughter, Nathalie Rykiel said in a statement: 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 invented not just a style but an attitude, a way of living and being, and offered a freedom of movement,” the president said in a tribute.
The sartorial icon, hailed as the ‘Queen of Knitwear’, made her breakthrough in 1962 with the launch of her now-classic ‘poor boy sweater’, a garment which had long sleeves and a shorter, fitted shape.
She would go on to head up her own label, and in 1968 her first ready-to-wear store was opened in the bohemian quarter of Paris’s Left Bank. Her fashion empire went on to include menswear, children’s clothing, accessories and perfumes.
Thanks to her unique sense of style, Rykiel garnered a long-list of celebrity fans, including actress Sarah Jessica Parker, singer Selena Gomez and models Miranda Kerr and Suki Waterhouse.
The longstanding industry fixture was well-regarded among her peers. Designer Christian Lacroix called her the very essence of ‘French-ness’. He told WWD: “She epitomises a certain brand of ‘French-ness’ and Paris since the Sixties – free and elegant girls, with French style, French attitude and French freedom, both erotic and intellectual.”
Karl Lagerfeld, creative director for Chanel lauded Rykiel for her approach to femininity and style. Of her early designs, he said: “They were so poetic, they looked like a Sarah Moon photo”.
According to her website, Rykiel “urged women to be eccentric, seductive, mysterious, and to create their own style”. Rykiel also authored several novels, and featured in the 1994 Robert Altman film, Pret-a-Porter.
Although a very private person, her battle with the illness was revealed in 2012, when her symptoms became too difficult to disguise, according to WWD.
As well as her daughter Nathalie, she leaves her son, Jean-Phillipe.
Below we take a look at the fashion industry’s tribute to the legendary fashion icon:
A photo posted by Jeremy Scott (@itsjeremyscott) on
“Everything I do is really an expression of myself, through colors and shapes and, at the same time, I try to explain what I feel not only as a creator but also as a woman. I cannot separate one from the other.” Remembering the iconic French designer @soniarykiel in the link in our bio.
A photo posted by Vogue (@voguemagazine) on
RIP #SoniaRykiel. The rebel of fashion. A designer that showed all of us that fashion rules are made to be broken. Descanse en paz Sonia Rykiel, una rebelde del mundo de la moda. Una diseñadora que nos enseñó que las leyes de la moda están para romperlas.
A photo posted by Nina Garcia (@ninagarcia) on
A photo posted by Nicole Phelps (@nicolephelps) on
A photo posted by Zac Posen (@zacposen) on
A photo posted by Rachel Zoe (@rachelzoe) on
A photo posted by michelgaubert™ (@michelgaubert) on