Fashion world mourns passing of French Jewish designer Sonia Rykiel

By JTA
August 26, 2016 12:44

 
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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.”

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