Sonia Rykiel was a feminist and a design revolutionary by combining somehow antithetic values with her unique approach on fashion. You could be both chic and sans bra in a Rykiel knit, you could also wear a ‘deconstructed’ piece with the outmost elegance due to its craftsmanship and quality. Celebrating the House’s 50th anniversary, artistic director Julie de Libran was invited to show on the Paris Couture calendar for the first time.
Combining Mme Rykiel’s liberating approach of womenswear within the restricting codes of Haute Couture is a creative challenge and one that Julie de Libran did not address.
The collection called ‘Sonia Rykiel Atelier’ was an amalgam of atelier crafmanship under a design hand that seemed to draw inspiration from anything else but the Rykiel archives. There was an emphasis of outsized proportions which is a Rykiel favorite yet the oversized bows and the ‘reimagined’ yarn sweaters bore nothing of the flattering appeal that their originals had-let alone the fit. There were more chunky sweaterdresses ,a fitted one with a sequined bikini on it and a tuxedo-pants hybrid that should had been edited-out. With the vast Rykiel archive available, the idea of ‘reworking’ a full Margiela Spring Summer 1991 look for the bride makes so sense at all.
“I do not want women to disappear beneath my clothing,” Sonia Rykiel would repeat about her design approach-le démodé, “the woman must be more than the garment, for it is not the dress that makes the woman, but the woman who makes herself.’’ Still, yesterday’s collection it was more for making a modernistic statement and showcasing the potential of the Atelier than for the Rykiel woman itself. You don’t call that a success.
( Photo credit:Giovanni Giannoni )