Sonia Rykiel dies at 86

The French designer had been suffering from Parkinson's disease

By Verinia Khoo | Published: 25 Aug 2016

Sonia Rykiel dies
Photo: TPG Images

French designer Sonia Rykiel has passed away at the age of 86 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Her daughter Nathalie Rykiel, who used to be the managing and artistic director at the company, said that her mother had died in her home in Paris at 5am on Thursday.

After being diagnosed 17 years ago, Rykiel initially kept her illness a secret, telling WWD that "I don't want to show my pain. I resisted, I hesitated, I tried to be invisible, to pretend that nothing was wrong. It's impossible, it's not like me."

Rykiel's first foray into fashion was when she started knitting maternity dresses for herself. She was catapulted into fame when her colourful "poor-boy sweater" became a coveted design back in 1962. Her celebrity fans included Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. Today, Rykiel is still famous for her quirky, oversized and striped knit sweaters. Her legacy is being continued by current artistic director Julie de Libran, who joined the company in 2014.

Rest in peace, Sonia. You will be missed.


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