Sonia Rykiel was born in Paris, France in 1930. At the age of 17, she was employed to dress the window displays in a Parisian textile store. Her first designs in 1962, were of maternity dresses for herself because she was unable to find any soft sweaters when she was pregnant. Shortly after, she started designing for her husband's company Laura.
One of her first creations was the Poorboy Sweater, which made the cover of Elle fashion magazine, and brought her fame. She later became the first designer to put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on her sweater.
In 1968, she opened her first boutique. Specializing in knitwear, Rykiel is a first rate designer, creating elegant, fluid garments in soft wools, jersey, angor and mohair.
A sensual outline is important to her garments and many are figure-hugging. She has also experimented with seams (reversing them to the outside) and with asymmetrical cuts. Her Lurex knitwear is sophisticated enough for evening. P align=left style='margin-right:30.0pt;margin-left:.5in'> The Americans call her the ""Queen of Knitwear"". She is the one who encouraged Robert Altman to make his ready-to-wear film ""Pret-a-Porter.
In particular, she favours long clinging sweaters or small cropped pullovers, large rolled-back cuffs and long shawls. Her outer wear often includes voluminous cape-like garments. Her colours are predominantly beige, grey, dark blue and charcoal. Rykiel has written many books, including an A to Z of fashion, and a collection of childrens stories.
In October 2001, she showed her Spring 2002 collection at the Louvre in Paris, proving that nothing has changed in almost 40 years she has been designing. Her slim fitted sweaters, her love for scrawling random words across a chest or down an arm endures, as does her signature stripes.
Even though she is in her 70's, Sonia is no prude. In her latest collection, she has included sex toys, amusing underwear and vibrators to signify the freedom of women.
Her daughter Nathalie collaborates with her now, on all her fashion activities.