For the first time since her arrival at Sonia Rykiel, Julie de Libran took the show out of the warm, intimate confines of the Rykiel store on Boulevard Saint-Germain, graduating to the grander stage of the Beaux-Arts de Paris. The move didn’t put any distance between the collection and the essence of the house. The neighborhood — Saint-Germain des Pres, a vital part of the Rykiel identity — and joyful spirit associated with the house remained intact, heightened even, as de Libran designed a collection that lived up to a higher stakes runway.
It was the next step in a progression that de Libran and the three generations of Rykiel women still involved in the company have handled with charm and grace that’s reflected in the clothes — this time quite literally. A few of the looks were printed with illustrated portraits of Sonia, Nathalie and Lola Rykiel as well as de Libran and the artist who created the prints, Maggie Cardelús. Printed on a yellow Seventies-style midi dress with long sleeves and a tie-neck worn with matching printed boots, the portraits were a sweet gesture of Rykiel’s tribe of girl’s girls.
The prints were just one sliver of a collection that showcased many sides of a fashion bon vivant. It opened and closed with swagger. A red-and-black plaid tailored coat with red fur that started at the shoulder and trailed down the back kicked off a group of mannish Seventies tailoring with great wide-leg trousers that sat low on the hips. The finale was a group of playfully daring dresses that contrasted the innocence of polka dots, flowers and trompe l’oeil collars with nearly completely sheer constructions.
In between was a breadth of daywear and eveningwear. The house signature stripes came in colorful horizontal patterns layered under a flamboyant chubby fur and in new, swingy vertical ribbed knits, including a slinky tiered ruffled top and skirt. There were slim tweed coats with robust fur sleeves, a micro leopard printed dress with a dramatic tie-neck under a lean shearling coat, and a shirtdress done in blue sequined stripes and lace panels for a quirky take on going-out attire. Big paillettes and fur pom-poms added to the fun, but the overall mood was young-at-heart sophistication.