Photographed by Deborah Turbeville, Vogue, February 1975.
Sonia Rykiel, the much-emulated French designer who died today at 86, is associated with flou, softness, and a relaxed Left Bank sort of chic. Knits, unlined and with unfinished seams, were her preferred materials, as they caressed and revealed the body all at once.
Despite the romanticism in the moody photographs Deborah Turbeville took of Rykiel and her friends for Vogue, there’s a sense of force in the images and a hint of eroticism, too. Though rarely explicit, the latter is evident in the pictures Helmut Newton took of Rykiel’s work for the magazine, as well.
Rykiel knit knowingness into her clothes, which were soft wrappers for the hard bodies of active women and working mothers like herself. Vogue described her work as “sportsy, luxe-y . . . feminine,” and stated with confidence that “Sonia Rykiel has all the sweaters everybody wants.”
Sonia Rykiel with friends Regine Deforges and Isabelle Weingarten. Photographed by Deborah Turbeville, Vogue, February 1975.
A model in Sonia Rykiel. Photographed by Deborah Turbeville, Vogue, February 1975.
Patti Hansen in Sonia Rykiel, photographed by Helmut Newton, March 1976.