PARIS — Sonia Rykiel has a new managing director, a new creative director and revved-up ambitions to build its business abroad, particularly in the U.S.
François Steiner, 44, former president of Kenzo, has been appointed the house's new managing director, while Gabrielle Greiss, 34, was promoted to creative director of the first fashion line. Greiss has worked in the studio with house founder Sonia Rykiel for the last two years.
Steiner, who has also held management jobs at Louis Vuitton and Thomas Pink, reports to Nathalie Rykiel, Sonia Rykiel's daughter the house's president and artistic director. He started this fall, but it is only now that his position has been made official.
"We want to build the future," said Nathalie Rykiel.
The appointments come as Rykiel prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.
In January, the house will inaugurate the festivities by unveiling a refurbished and expanded flagship boutique on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, in the heart of the Left Bank shopping district.
Nathalie Rykiel said the company would introduce a special capsule collection of "collectable" pieces, as well as stage a blowout party on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in May. The fete is scheduled for May 25, which will coincide with Sonia Rykiel's 78th birthday. "We wanted to do something atypical — very Rykiel."
Meantime, next October, a museum retrospective of Rykiel's four decades of style is planned for the fashion museum in the Louvre here. "It will be the first time we've done a museum show in France," said Nathalie Rykiel, who added a documentary film about the house as well as a literary essay on her mother's style are also in the works.
"We want to show our individuality," she explained. "We like to do things our own quirky way. We are one of the only remaining family-owned fashion businesses in France. We are 100 percent auto-financed and we are growing. Our story is unique."
Sources estimate Rykiel had sales of about 100 million euros, or $147 million at current exchange, last year with an increase in revenues of about 10 percent. The house operates 29 wholly owned boutiques and counts 26 franchised stores."Our main priority is to grow our business in the United States," said Nathalie Rykiel. Bloomingdale's and Intermix are among the stores that carry the line in the U.S. It is also sold in Rykiel boutiques in Manhattan and Boston.
"We fell asleep in America," admitted Rykiel. "It's time for us to wake up."
Nathalie Rykiel said Steiner is crafting a coherent strategy for Rykiel in America. She said her daughter, Lola, 22, a trained classical dancer, was assuming an ambassador role for the brand in New York, where she lives.
The changes were prompted after Nathalie Rykiel last year divorced her husband, Simon Burstein, who had doubled as house president. (Burstein's family runs the Browns fashion stores in London.)
Greiss, who trained at Central Saint Martins in London, is well-known in fashion circles here, having worked with Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, Martine Sitbon and Anna Molinari before joining Rykiel. Though her touch has been evident since she arrived two years ago, she now is expected to amplify her influence over Rykiel's cheeky Left Bank style even more.
Nathalie Rykiel said Greiss would take a bow on the podium — alongside her and her mother — after the upcoming fashion show in Paris.
But she was quick to emphasize her mother is not passing the baton. "Sonia comes to work every morning," she said. "She is not retiring."
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty