Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel, ‘Queen of Knitwear’ Fashion Designer, Dies at 86

(JTA) — Prominent French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel, who was known for her knitwear designs, died Thursday at 86.

Rykiel, dubbed the “Queen of Knitwear,” had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease since the late 1990s.

She was known for celebrating women’s bodies with knitted striped clothes that clung to the body.

Rykiel often broke unspoken fashion rules, such as by designing clothes for women of all ages rather than catering to a younger audience.

The Paris native was the daughter of a Jewish Polish mother and Romanian father. She married Paris boutique owner Sam Rykiel in 1953. The couple had two children, Jean-Philippe and Nathalie, but divorced in 1968. Nathalie currently serves as the managing and artistic director of her mother’s fashion label.

“It is a sad day but Sonia Rykiel leaves behind her an extraordinary legacy,” said Jean-Marc Loubier, chairman and chief executive of First Heritage Brands, the parent company of Rykiel’s label.

The office of French President Francois Hollande said: “She had invented not only a style but an attitude, a way of life, and gave women freedom of movement.”

Author

Josefin Dolsten

Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at dolsten@forward.com and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.

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Sonia Rykiel, ‘Queen of Knitwear’ Fashion Designer, Dies at 86

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