Model Wears A Creation By French Designers Sonia Rykiel And Her Daughter Nathalie Rykiel, The Artistic Director For The Fashion House Rykiel, For Their Spring-Summer 2008 Ready-To-Wear Collection In Paris
Model Wears A Creation By French Designers Sonia Rykiel And Her Daughter Nathalie Rykiel, The Artistic Director For The Fashion House Rykiel, For Their Spring-Summer 2008 Ready-To-Wear Collection In Paris

Sonia Rykiel fashion label shuts down: ‘It’s like she has died a second time’

‘It’s the end of an era

Katie O'Malley
Friday 26 July 2019 09:25
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French luxury fashion label Sonia Rykiel has entered liquidation after it failed to find a buyer.

Founded in 1968 by the eponymous French designer, the label became internationally known for its knitwear and symbolism of the Parisian protest movements during the 1960s.

On Thursday, a Paris commercial court judge rejected the remaining bidder for the company, Lévy – a Paris-based family operating business.

News outlet France 24 reports that the company’s 131 employees will lose their jobs.

The news comes three years after the designer died in 2016 aged 86 following a 15-year-long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

French designer Agnes Trouble, who is the founder of the Agnes b. brand, told Agence France-Press: “It’s like she has died a second time.”

“It’s the end of an era. Dior and Saint Laurent are all about bling now -- they no longer have the Parisian elegance they used to have,” the designer added.

The brand will reportedly close six stores in France and Monaco, and its intellectual property and archives will be sold.

In 2012, First Heritage Brand bought and relaunched the company. However, it continued to make a financial loss.

In March, Julie de Libran, Sonia Rykiel’s head designer, left the company. A month later, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in France and was forced to close stores in New York and London.

Sonia Rykiel poses backstage after the Sonia Rykiel Ready to Wear show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011 at Halle Freyssinet on March 7, 2010 in Paris, France.

During her four decade-long career, Rykiel was recognised for pioneering casual-chic and her famous “poor boy” jumpers, made famous by actors Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot. The design compromised of a fitted ribbed knit with raised armholes.

The designer opened her first boutique on the Left Bank in France in May 1968, the same month students took to the streets to protest against capitalism, consumerism and the old order.

The pioneering feminist was one of hundreds of women who signed the “Manifeste des 343 Salopes”, a declaration published in 1971, written by Simone de Beauvoir. The document was signed by 343 women who had had an abortion, which was illegal in France at the time, to protest for its legalisation.

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Last year, the city of Paris announced it had named a street located in the middle of a grand Left Bank boulevard after Rykiel.

The location of the street is where the designer was known to have done her fruit and vegetable shopping. It was the first time the French capital had named a street after a fashion designer.

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