Sonia Rykiel: a summer of mermaids and seashells

Faithful as ever to Paris’ Left Bank, the brand presented its Spring/Summer 2018 collection at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris’ Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. The collection was a sensual ode to mermaids, and took place on the banks of the Seine just steps away from both the brand’s flagship store at 175 Boulevard Saint-Germain and the first Sonia Rykiel boutique, which opened on Rue de Grenelle in 1968. 

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Sonia Rykiel - Spring-Summer2018 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

While the gingham prints reminiscent of the cafés’ and brasseries’ tablecloths typical of the neighborhood were the protagonists of the collection, the characteristic Rykiel stripes also played a strong role in the show, with colors ranging from navy blue, black and white to pastel yellow. 

The presence of the house’s emblematic knits interspersed with transparent fabrics was a wink to the brand’s history, while Julie de Libran’s main focus remained on femininity through the use of oysters and pearls. The designer, who has helmed the French label since 2014, certainly took to the depths of the ocean in looking for inspiration for her summer collection.

Seashells bordered skirts and dresses, jingling like bells as the models walked up and down the runway in flat sandals encrusted with pearls, which naturally also appeared in the models’ jewelry. The oysters returned in the form of suggestive prints and covered the bodices of the post-modern mermaids. Mother-of-pearl and oversized sequins highlighted the designs’ scale-like qualities. Of course, it was the perfect occasion for the brand to present “the Oyster,” its new fishing bag. 

Julie de Libran has found the balance between modernity and tradition, between functionality and French glamour. The latest collection was an ambitious project that earned applause for its “savoir-faire.” 

Translated by Emily Jensen

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