WWD.com/retail-news/retail-features/sonia-rykiel-rolls-out-new-look-in-paris-495798/

PARIS — Sonia Rykiel is hinting at things to come with the new store it just opened on the Avenue Georges V here.

The 2,000-square-foot unit, across the street from Louis Vuitton’;s flagship and adjoining the recently opened Fouquet’;s Barrière hotel, is the first of the family-owned house’;s new-look shops.

A fuller exploration of the Seventies-tinged decor developed by architectural practice Rapp & Nogent will be unveiled next January when Rykiel’;s main Boulevard Saint-Germain store here is revamped with a similar interior scheme.

The decor will also be deployed in a shop to open in the southern French port town of Marseille on Saturday and a store in Antwerp, Belgium, set to bow this summer.

Nathalie Rykiel, the founder’;s daughter and the firm’;s managing and artistic director, said the shops come at a time of celebration for the house. “We mark our 40th anniversary next year,” she said, adding a raft of events would be planned.

Meanwhile, she explained the house was navigating a period of managerial transition. Rykiel divorced in January from Simon Burstein, who had helmed Rykiel’;s business. Burstein has since given up his responsibilities, which have been assumed by his ex-wife. (Burstein runs a gift and stationery shop called Le Jour et L’;Heure in Paris; also, his family runs the Browns fashion stores in London.)

Rykiel said a managerial reshuffle was planned for this fall and that a search was on for talent to bolster the house’;s administrative muscle. “It’;s an exciting time for us right now,” she said.

The Avenue Georges V store, close to the high-traffic Champs-Elysées, sits on a street that is slowly becoming a new luxury hub. Jean Paul Gaultier operates a store a couple of doors down and crowds line up daily for admission to Vuitton’;s nearby megastore. Armani and Brioni also have stores close by.

Rykiel’;s shop is tucked into a corner of the facade of the neighboring Barrière hotel. Black carpeting with a circular neo-Seventies motif gives it a groovy feel, which is completed by an inset mirrored ceiling and textured black walls.

This story first appeared in the May 23, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Shoppers enter to see a wall of accessories displayed on light wood sleeves, while ready-to-wear is hung in the adjacent spaces. A “book shelf” unit is filled with Rykiel’;s trademark knits, and a corner is devoted to Rykiel’;s Karma line of glamorous workout gear.

Rykiel operates 35 stores around the world.