LOOK, BOOK: Julie de Libran opened the doors of the newly refurbished Sonia Rykiel store in London on Friday and talked about her relationship with books, which line the walls of the store and which shoppers can borrow, but not buy.
“I’m not huge on literature,” admitted de Libran, the artistic director of the house. “You know, I grew up in America and I like an easy read where I can relax. I did read an amazing book, though, I’ve read it so many times and I love it. It’s ‘Fairyland’ by Alysia Abbott. She grew up in San Francisco with her father in the Seventies, then came to live in Paris. It’s so well written and such a good story. We actually invited her to the store in Saint-Germain to do a reading.”
The 2,350-square-foot store on Brook Street in Mayfair reopened in July, and showcases the concept created by de Libran in collaboration with the director-publisher Thomas Lenthal and the artist André Saraïva. On the ground floor, 15,000 books individually selected by Lenthal line the glossy red walls, contrasting with the raw wood floorboards.
“Every book is a good book, it’s not trash or kitchen recipes or that self-help kind of stuff, it’s good literature from before 1975,” said Lenthal, adding that the books are mostly fiction and predominantly in French.
On the ground level, Seventies vintage sofas and armchairs are dotted about, while the children’s collection is presented in a small alcove. A patio has been designed as a literary café with chairs and tables.
In London for the weekend, de Libran was planning to visit the Ugo Rondinone exhibition at Sadie Coles’ gallery. “I discovered his sculptures at Art Basel and I loved them,” she said. “He puts different rocks one on top of another and the way he puts the colors together is just breathtaking.”
Surrounded by guests including Leandra Medine, Chelsea Leyland, Tina Leung and Poppy Delevingne, de Libran was wearing a pair of shiny silver trousers from the fall 2015 collection. “Well, I had to show that they actually can be worn!” she joked.