The runway for Sonia Rykiel‘s spring/summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection presentation at Paris Fashion Week projected a powerful spirit that would have made the late designer proud. Rykiel, the founder of her eponymous fashion house, passed away in August at the age of 86, and a few days before this fashion week show, artistic director Julie de Libran showed Rykiel’s daughter Nathalie something she had been working on to honor the designer.
De Libran put together a tribute of 12 models to show on the runway at the beginning of the show; each model sported hair similar to that of Rykiel – who could forget that semi-wild mass of red hair? – as well as a three-quarter-sleeved sweater-unitard featuring one letter of the designer’s last name.
This acted as the intro of the Sonia Rykiel spring 2017 runway show, spelling out “Rykiel Forever,” as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” played in the background, as interpreted by Max Richter. All of this occurred before the show launched into the actual collection of clothes for spring/summer 2017.
“She said, ‘It’s not sad. It’s really beautiful,'” said de Libran on Nathalie’s reaction. That statement could not have been more genuine, as the display was a beautiful sentiment to the memory of the always-upbeat designer. Such could also be said about the rest of the show as well as the setup in general, which was interspersed with bits of memories from Rykiel’s life and career.
A video was set up at the beginning, which featured portraits and clips of the designer from the past years, highlighting her career. To finish out the memorial aspects of the fashion week presentation, de Libran concluded the show with a series of Rykiel’s striped ensembles, which walked as silver confetti popped in happy celebration. It was a truly beautiful way to commemorate the life and success of a designer who has passed.
The actual lineup held its own against the sentimental backdrop of the rest of the show and its atmosphere; de Libran was sure to stay within the house’s standard codes, but found ways to push in new ideas with a fresh execution. Most of the garments in the collection were oversized, and the color palette was, overall, cut and dry: blue, white, and olive, with some other complementary colors popping in here and there.
“Women today are so active, they need clothes that help them liberate them throughout their day,” said de Libran, regarding the volume use in the line. She was able to use this scale as a way to tell a story, based around the idea of using it within workwear.
She used the oversized silhouettes and created maritime styles, especially due to the color choices, which was a novel approach. We can expect for these pieces to be made slimmer when they go on sale, but there is no doubt the voluminous impact will not be lost in translation.
But then some of the pieces slimmed down, and the line got flirtier; by the end of the collection things were getting downright sexy with a couple of sheer black lace garments. In many of the slimmed down silhouettes, too, there were still oversized elements, as with long or puffed sleeves, in many cases.
All of this worked together to bring some of the beloved Sonia Rykiel attitude to the concept of the girl next door – and if we had a guess, the designer wouldn’t have wanted it done any other way.
Photos courtesy of Vogue