By  on July 28, 2005

PARIS — French fashion house Sonia Rykiel is hoping to help women loosen up with its newest collection.

For fall, the firm is launching a line of apparel and accessories that can be used for yoga and Pilates, but also for lounging at home or at the spa.

Labeled Rykiel Karma, Body & Soul, it's the latest idea from Nathalie Rykiel, Sonia's daughter and creative director of the family-owned company.

"I noticed that in sport, women tend to either wear beat-up jogging pants or dancewear, but there was no technical clothing that was also glamorous and sexy," said Nathalie Rykiel, who based the line on her own needs as a working wife and mother who squeezes yoga and Pilates into her hectic schedule.

Targeted at sophisticated thirtysomething women, the mostly black line includes eight styles of leotards, vividly striped legwarmers and headbands and velvet-trimmed bodysuits and machine-washable cashmere wrap tops that can also be paired with jeans.

There are also aromatherapy pillows, thalassotherapy accessories for seaweed-based spa treatments and punch bags dotted with slogans such as "No Stress" spelled out in crystal, indicative of Rykiel's fashionably relaxed attitude to sport.

The new label is slated to bow this September at what is now the Rykiel children's store on Rue de Grenelle and at Galeries Lafayettes here, as well as Rykiel "concept stores" in Brussels and Milan that unite all of the Rykiel lines under one roof. Retail prices range from about $78 (65 euros) for a T-shirt to about $520 (430 euros) for cashmere pants. Sales projections were not disclosed.

Rykiel chief executive officer Simon Burstein said after testing the product in Europe, the company plans to roll out the line to key markets such as Tokyo and possibly the U.S.

It will be sold in tandem with its two-year-old Rykiel Woman line that features cashmere sweaters, pashmina dressing gowns and negligees.

"I want women around the world to feel they have a one-stop shop to go to that's full of treats to make them feel good," Burstein said.

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