lundi 23 mars 2009

Sonia's World

For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear Sonia Rykiel is her famous striped sweater. Funnily enough, I have always associated her style with someone a little older, someone more sophisticated. It’s only been in the last two years or so that I’ve come to really appreciate her style and I’ve come to like immensely her Sonia line which is a lot of fun. It was thus interesting to learn that the Musee des Arts Decoratifs has an ongoing Sonia Rykiel retrospective. I didn’t realize that she’s been around in the industry long enough to have a restrospective.
When Red Addict asked me if I was interested to see the exhibit, I jumped at the chance. Featuring about 200 dresses, sweaters and tops, the exhibit commemorates her 40 years in fashion. Divided into her dominant themes (Laura, Stripes, Rhinestones and Lace, etc…), the exhibit juxtaposes each capsule theme with magazine covers and articles featuring the clothes. It was interesting to have the clothes put within the context of its times. It makes one really appreciate the innovativeness of her designs during those times as well as see how they have evolved to become modern classics or wardrobe staples. We take it for granted now, but back then, it was quite revolutionary to have sweaters that actually hugged the body and moved with it in a flattering way! One memorable cover with Francoise Hardy shot in 1968 features a beautiful striped sweater dress, designed cleverly to look like a shirt and skirt outfit. It’s something I would have no problems wearing today and as Red Addict pointed out, that’s because it’s now a classic look. It was also funny to see how much Rykiel pioneered some styles that fashionable brands now have. Her Velour jumpsuits look exactly like the now ubiquitous Juicy Couture track suits sans the Juicy across the bottom of course, that is now so beloved by the bling bling set. A number of her Slogan sweaters calls to mind those of Zadig et Voltaire’s. Her big drapey cardigans that you tie and wrap around yourself in different ways could well be the predecessor of the soft wrap around cardigans being sold now at Les Petites. Just goes to show how modern and forward her styles already were way back in the late 60s and 70s.
What we both loved at the exhibit were the big publicity shots for the label over the period of 1968-late 90s. They were beautifully shot in evocative black and white that showed off the clothes to perfection yet were so much more. Haunting and striking, it was hard to believe that these shots were publicity ones. They could very well hang in one’s living room or boudoir. They were that nice.
Towards the end of the exhibit, there are a number of “homage dresses” designed by such diverse designers as Matthew Williamson, Ralph Lauren, Rodarte and John Galliano to name a few. Along the wall, one could see the sketched designs of each dress and it was great fun to see how other designers interpret the Rykiel look. Most were gorgeous though I have to admit that some of them looked better on paper.
If you have the chance to do so, visit the exhibition before it closes on the 19th of April. It’s a good opportunity to get better acquainted with the world of Sonia Rykiel.

Some of her sexy sweaters...

Stripes galore...

2 commentaires:

redaddict a dit…

excellent résumé, thanks!

Pink Princess a dit…

Glad you liked it!