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Senior directors at business she founded issue tributes to Sonia Rykiel

Lauretta Roberts
26 August 2016

Senior directors at Sonia Rykiel and its investors have issued tributes to the legendary French designer who passed away early yesterday morning from the effects of Parkinson's disease at the age of 86.

In a statement from the Sonia Rykiel business today, Julie de Libran who has been artistic director at the Paris-based house since 2014 recalled her first meeting with Rykiel as a "beautiful memory". "I was very touched by the charm and grace of this unique woman who truly defines what it means to be iconic," said de Libran. "She will be truly missed but her style, legacy and spirit will never be forgotten and will live on to continue inspiring women around the world."

CEO of the house Eric Langon described her as "essentially and uniquely free". "She embodied remarkably this spirit of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. All of us in the house she created in 1968 are deeply saddened by her passing away and express our deepest condolences to her family," he said.

Chairman and CEO of investor First Heritage Brands Jean-Marc Loubier also expressed his condolences to her family including her children Jean Philippe and Nathalie, who was formerly artistic director of the house and remains a creative consultant. "My thoughts are also with all the members of La Maison Rykiel who are so devoted and so proud to write its history daily. But this extraordinary woman offers us an exceptional legacy. She is a pioneer woman who helped change our society always putting together creation, culture and clothes to serve women and their rising role in the world."

Sabrina Fung, group managing director at Fung Retailing sent her thoughts and condolences to the family of Sonia Rykiel including her children and grandchildren. "Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time," she said. "As a family and as close partners we are proud to carry on the legacy of Madame Sonia Rykiel whose talent and skills have made an everlasting mark on the world of fashion."

Sonia Rykiel was known as the "Queen of Knitwear" and founded her house in 1968 on the back of the huge popularity of her signature knitwear, in particular the ribbed, skinny, striped Poor Boy sweaters, which were loved by some of the world's most stylish women including Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot.

A contemporary of designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, she is credited with being a leading force in ready-to-wear clothing and went on to achieve huge global success. In 2012 she revealed she had been suffering from Parkinson's for a number of years and succumbed to the effects of the disease yesterday.

Read our Obituary here.

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