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Sonia Rykiel-Classy knitwear

April 12, 2015

Sonia Rykiel is a French designer from Neuilly in the suburbs of Paris.She dressed windows at a Paris textile store and married Sam Rykiel in 1953. Sam owned a boutique and from there, Sonia designed sweaters for the shop using her husband’s suppliers.

Rykiel is now synonymous with elegant knitwear and for creating ground-breaking new looks, proving that knitwear can be classy as well as sexy.Read on to capture some of Rykiel’s magic….

Sonia Rykiel – Qeen of knitwear

Early Sonia Rykiel

Early Sonia Rykiel

Poor boy sweater

Rykiel would go on from creating maternity dresses and simple sweaters, to one in particular, known as the “Poor Boy Sweater,” which would grace the cover of Elle magazine and crown Sonia Rykielas queen of knits in the US in the late sixties.

It was a simple creation, as they always are, with long sleeves and a shorter, cropped fitted shape. Graphic printed versions came in the noughties, a tribute to Rykiel’s original creation.

Sonia Rykiel today

Sonia Rykiel today

Seams and the poorboy sweater

She was not only famous for the creation of the poor boy sweater, but for adding seams to the outside of her designs and for creating sweaters with words.

Her sweaters either cling, are small and cropped, or come with long shawls and long cuffs. Her colours are subtle ranging from charcoal to beige. She’s also created her own line of fragrances.

Rykiel designs clothes,but her real passion is knitwear and making it a staple fashion item that can follow trends as well as any fabric.

Classic muted colours and buttons

Classic muted colours and buttons

Rykiel today

Her collections for spring and summer 2015 consist of fringes, stripes, cropped jumpers and buttons on everything from trousers to jackets. Her look is feminine and unfussy, with elegant lines and simple shapes that enhance a woman’s silhouette.

Autumn and winter look equally good with emphasis on muted colours with buttons, white pants and navy jackets, and simple neutral shades for capes with browns and blacks. Simple double breasted coats with giant fur collars, knitted caps and berets and tartan two piece suits.

Skirt - Sonia Rykiel

Skirt – Sonia Rykiel

Vintage Rykiel

As with anything vintage, Rykiel is a trip into a treasure of colours, shapes and words that can be mixed and matched with just about anything.

Her vintage jewellery is particularly exquisite with circular knots, gold quilting and golden flowers. Belts come with diamond shapes, bags have the familiar Sonia Rykiel logo on the front, a classy squiggle on a black leather clutch adding a classy touch of branding.

Although Rykiel’s colour palette could be described as conservative, there are shades of purple and pinks in amongst the blacks and navy, you just have to seek them out.

Sonia Rykiel- spring, summer 2015

Sonia Rykiel- spring, summer 2015

Simple, sensual, elegant

Do keep out an eye for her dresses and separates, they are simple yet dynamic. In their familiar lines and shapes in her renowned muted shades, they can be dressed up with accessories that can be turned into a statement piece. Simple woollen button dress from the 60s, 80s jumpers with buttons down the sleeves – vintage treasures to love.

sonia rykiel vintage cardigan

sonia rykiel vintage cardigan


Sonia Rykiel knits are definitely worthy of an arduous search. Her knits are an excellent example of the versatility of knitwear, not just something you put on reluctantly when the weather turns chilly, but key wardrobe pieces you can add to an outfit to create a soft, sensual edge that adds contour to a woman’s body in the best possible way.