Rykiel, Sonia, 1930–2016, French fashion designer, b. Neuilly-sur-Seine as Sonia Flis. Rykiel focused on ready-to-wear clothing rather than haute couture, and was especially noted for her “poor boy sweater,” a close-fitting, fine-ribbed, usually striped knit sweater with a high armhole and tight sleeves. She began her career by designing maternity clothes for herself that were figure-hugging rather than tentlike, then designed for a boutique her husband owned; she did not establish her own label and first shop until 1968. Dubbed the “Queen of Knits” by Women's Wear Daily, Rykiel designed innovative clothes that featured garments that were unlined, had exposed seams and raw hems, and sweaters sometimes printed with slogans. Her clothes, in muted colors, were casual but sensual, evoking confidence and strength as well as feminity.
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