Fashion Designer Sonia Rykiel was born Sonia Flis in 1930. At the age of 17, she was employed to dress the window displays in a Parisian textile store.
Sonia was married to the owner of a boutique which sold elegant clothing, but in 1962 she just couldn't find any soft sweaters to wear when she was pregnant. So she used a supplier to her husband from Venice, to design her own. This first creation was called the Poorboy Sweater, and she started selling it from her husbands label "Laura. It 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 sweaters.
In 1968, she opened her first boutique. Rykiel has written many books, including an A to Z of fashion, and a collection of children’s stories.
In 1980 she was voted one of the world's 10 most elegant women. 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. Her daughter Nathalie collaborates with her now, on all her fashion activities.
In February 2005 Henri Bendel launched an in-store shop for the Sonia Rykel Woman line. Specializing in knitwear, Rykiel is a first rate designer, creating elegant, fluid garments in soft wools, jersey, angora and mohair. 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 outerwear often includes voluminous cape-like garments.