Queen of Knitwear Sonia Rykiel Has Passed Away at 86

The French designer fought a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Fashion
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Fashion mourns the loss of Sonia Rykiel, who passed away at 86. The iconic French designer revealed she had Parkinson’s in 2012, although she suffered from the disease since the ’90s.

Known as the “Queen of Knitwear,” Rykiel’s start came after designing maternity clothing for herself. She’d later go on to revolutionize womenswear through her eponymous label bound by her dedication to comfort, freedom and distinctive knitting techniques and stitching — her Poor Boy sweater being as memorable and distinctive as her signature red hair.

In 1995, Rykiel stepped down as the label’s CEO and artistic director, but continued to serve as honorary president until she retired in 2009. French President honored her passing, calling her “a free woman and a pioneer”:

“She invented not only a style, but also an attitude, a way of living and of being, and gave women a freedom of movement,” he said. “Passionate about culture, she did not conceive of fashion without the arts, which were always present in her creations. Her style is known across the world. It will remain a symbol of the remarkable alliance of colour and the natural, of fluidity and light.”

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USA TODAY
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