It is always with great sadness when I write a piece about a designer who has passed away. More so because I struggle sometimes to keep up with the new and upcoming designers, whereas those 'old school' ones have been household names for so long, you would recognise their style instantly, anywhere.
So it is the great Sonia Rykiel on the blog today - her colourful stripes could not be mistaken for someone else's. Ever. With designs for real women (you know, curves and all) Rykiel was as inspirational as she was a visionary. And her playful and colourful designs have inspired generations of designers and the world of interiors. Move aside black and white. Hot pink is coming!
Left: Sonia Rykiel Resort 2016; right, Sonya Winner contemporary rugs.
Having painfully divorced in sixties (she didn't want to), she soon opened her first boutique in Paris' left bank - the "Rive Gauche" - which remains the trendiest area in Paris 7th arrondissement. An entrepreneur, and an attractive one as well, she soon found herself surrounded by designers as well as artists.
She created a circle of close allies especially in the literary world. Karl Lagerfeld and Saint Laurent were her friends but so were writers and directors - Robert Altman's "Ready to Wear" ("Pret-a-porter) was supposed to include a character (Anouk Aimee) based on Rykiel.
When Sonia Rykiel collaborated with H&M in 2010, there were queues for days outside the shops. Westfield in London was P A C K E D (I remember, it was my favourite place to stroll while on maternity leave). Eventually, I gave in and queued myself. I bagged the dress (below left) which, post pregnancy, was perfect. #comfort
Rykiel collaborated with french fabric house Lelievre for a number of years as part of her Sonia Rykiel Maison collection. This was in addition to the bed and bath homeware collections she has launched over the years. Above: from her 2016 collection. (Photo credit: Lelievre, Paris).
How to replicate the Sonia Rykiel style at home
1. Patterns: Stripes, but not as you know them. Forget the plain two colour patterns, instead go from stripes with irregular repeats or multicoloured stripes.
2. Key colours: combinations of hot pink, red and yellow; hot pink and green, light and dark blue.
Top to bottom: St Giles Blue, Farrow & Ball; Deep Space Blue, Little Greene; Drawing Room Blue, Cook's Blue and Vardo, all Farrow & Ball
Image Credit: Pinterest.
Read an amazing interview with Sonia Rykiel on Purple magazine, here.