Lola Burstein-Rykiel, the granddaughter of Sonia Rykiel, is launching her own public relations and consulting firm in New York called Le Chocolat Noir. Her first client is, naturally, Sonia Rykiel, which will be the agency’s only ready-to-wear brand. Her second client is French jeweler Marie-Hélène de Taillac.
“I wanted to open my own agency but still be very tied to the brand of my grandmother,” said Burstein-Rykiel. “[Sonia Rykiel] will be my first and most important client and then I can start to represent people I believe are giving the same spirit through their product as the universe I grew up in. I want to represent product that if my grandmother was still here, she would love.” Sonia Rykiel passed away in August at age 86.
Burstein-Rykiel named the agency for her, her mother Nathalie and her grandmother’s favorite sweet: dark chocolate. Her grandmother was even a member of Le club des croqueurs de chocolat. “It has a big meaning,” she said of Le Chocolat Noir. “It’s this idea of having a little bit of something amazing but you have to handle it carefully — if you have too much, it’s not good. I like to have this approach to stuff that I love.”
Working with de Taillac is an example of this philosophy. Burstein-Rykiel was first introduced to her jewelry through her grandmother and mother, both avid clients, who brought her to de Taillac’s store when she was 18. “It was a huge revelation for me,” she said. “It was definitely my grandmother’s favorite jewelry brand. [Working with it] is not going to be about doing something viral or digital. It’s definitely a special brand that could be known better in America.”
Burstein-Rykiel grew up in Paris and has been living in New York City for six years running American public relations for Sonia Rykiel. She initially came to New York to study dance at the Martha Graham School, after which she returned to Paris to work for the brand. Within a few months her mother sent her back to New York to head up the U.S. public relations. For now, Burstein-Rykiel is her new company’s only employee. She will continue to work out of Sonia Rykiel’s 57th Street offices. “I’m really in love with what Julie [de Libran] is doing at Sonia Rykiel…I’m not at all escaping from it,” said Burstein-Rykiel. “But it’s true that for me as a person and as a woman, I want to grown and have my own business.”