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Queen of Knitwear Sonia Rykiel died on August 25 at the age of 86.

The French fashion designer had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for some time before her death.

Her daughter, Nathalie Rykiel, said: “My mother died at 05:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s.”

Nathalie Rykiel is also the managing and artistic director of the Sonia Rykiel fashion label.

French President Francois Hollande praised Sonia Rykiel as “a pioneer”.

Francois Hollande said of Sonia Rykiel, whose relaxed striped knitwear was seen as a shift away from more formal suits: “She invented not just a style but an attitude, a way of living and being, and offered a freedom of movement.”

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

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

He added that she had “helped women and society evolve.”

Sonia Rykiel was born Sonia Flis in Paris in May 1930, to a Romanian father and Russian mother.

She started her career as a window dresser in 1948, with her first foray into design being when she knitted herself maternity dresses after marrying Sam Rykiel, the owner of a Paris boutique.

Sonia Rykiel made her breakthrough in 1962 with the so-called poor boy sweater, which had long sleeves and a fitted shape.

Elle magazine then featured teenage pop star Francoise Hardy wearing a red and pink striped Rykiel sweater on its cover in December 1963.

Brigitte Bardot was later photographed in a Rykiel creation, with Audrey Hepburn among her other famous fans.

Sonia Rykiel opened her first ready-to-wear store on Paris’s Left Bank in 1968 and her fashion empire went on to include menswear, children’s clothing, accessories and perfumes.

According to her website, Sonia Rykiel “urged women to be eccentric, seductive, mysterious, and to create their own style”.

During her career Sonia Rykiel developed new techniques like inside-out stitching and no-hem finishings, with other star pieces including embroidered knitted tops and rhinestone-studded berets.

Sonia Rykiel wrote several novels and also featured in 1994 movie Pret-a-Porter, Robert Altman’s satirical take on the fashion industry.

In 2012, she revealed she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s 15 years earlier.

The designer had initially kept the condition private but wrote about her diagnosis in a book when her symptoms became too difficult to disguise, fashion site WWD said.

Sonia Rykiel is survived by her daughter Nathalie and son Jean-Philippe.


From a cornflower blue dress from Zara to a pair of vibrant pink jeans, Kate Middleton’s wardrobe choices have sent high street sales soaring with shoppers desperate to emulate her impeccable style.

But it seems that not everyone is reaping the rewards of the “Kate effect”, with designer Roland Mouret admitting that Kim Kardashian has more selling power than the Duchess.

Kate Middleton wowed the world when she stepped out in one of his show-stopping cream gowns at Claridge’s last year, but French designer Roland Mouret said the 30-year-old doesn’t boost his sales as much as reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

“You don’t see hundreds of women running around looking like her [Kate Middleton],” he said.

“To be honest, we’re more likely to get orders on a dress that Kim Kardashian’s worn,” he told The Telegraph.

Roland Mouret has admitted that Kim Kardashian has more selling power than Kate Middleton

Roland Mouret has admitted that Kim Kardashian has more selling power than Kate Middleton

Roland Mouret attributes this to the fact that the Duchess has no interested in drawing in the attention of the media, unlike Kim Kardashian who lets the media follow her life on a daily basis.

Speaking about Kate Middleton’s fashion choices, Roland Mouret said: “She’s highly attuned to those details that will provoke a tabloid frenzy and above all, she does not want a tabloid frenzy.

“She doesn’t seem to feel the need to dress sexily to woo the world.

“She’s dressing for William and herself.”

And it seems that the Duchess is so afraid of the media frenzy that she once asked for one of her gowns to be altered to fit less tightly.

“She doesn’t want a bottom situation like Pippa had,” said Roland Mouret.

Roland Mouret earned himself the much coveted title of “King of the dress” after his Galaxy dress was named the “dress of the decade” and worn by every A-lister in tinsel town.

But after a few years out of the glare of the spotlight, Roland Mouret is back and ready to give his own iconic number a run for its money with a brand new collection – no doubt hoping for the endorsement of both Kim Kardashian and the Duchess of Cambridge.