BOOK CLUB: Nathalie Rykiel is organizing a charity event at the former Sonia Rykiel flagship in Paris to distribute some of the 40,000 books that were part of the décor of the boutique when it closed its doors two years ago.
The store on Boulevard Saint-Germain shuttered when the brand founded by her mother, the late Sonia Rykiel, went into liquidation in 2019 after its then-owner, First Heritage Brands, failed to find a buyer for the struggling label. The brand was subsequently relaunched by entrepreneurs Eric and Michael Dayan.
The Rykiel family still owns the building that formerly housed the headquarters of the company, as well as the lease to the store, which sits in a prime section of real estate near brands including Ralph Lauren, Emporio Armani, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. “It’s the most beautiful location on the Left Bank,” Nathalie Rykiel told WWD.
She’s inviting friends to the boutique on Tuesday evening to take away books in exchange for a donation to Libraries Without Borders, a nonprofit that provides access and resources that connect people to books and digital resources, expanding the reach of libraries, training facilitators in post-emergency situations, and addressing the needs of under-resourced communities.
“Their work is exceptional,” Rykiel said. Formerly president and artistic director of the brand, she gradually disengaged from the day-to-day running of the company after the founding family in 2012 sold an 80 percent stake to Fung Brands, an investment company backed by Hong Kong billionaires Victor and William Fung.
Rykiel is now a full-time author, with six books to her name, including “Talisman à l’usage des mères et des filles” (“Talisman for the Use of Mothers and Daughters”) published last year. She noted that her mother, who enjoyed close friendships with writers such as Régine Deforges, was also a published author and always had books at her Paris store.
Its last iteration was unveiled in 2015, as part of a café-cum-library pop-up concept designed by André Saraiva and art director Thomas Lenthal.
“This store is a real icon and an emblem. It was important to me to end things with a very strong symbolic gesture,” Rykiel said. Clearing the store of its contents will presumably open the way for a new tenant to move in, but she declined to comment on future plans. “Each thing in its own time,” she said.