PFW: SONIA RYKIEL F/W 2014

Geraldo da Conciaco presented his second fall/winter collection for the Sonia Rykiel label this afternoon, and as I’m sitting here perusing the pictures for what must at least be the seventh or eighth time, I still feel as though the collection is missing something. It is. There are no stripes. Sonia Rykiel was all about stripes and there was never a collection coming down her runway that didn’t have them. We’re also missing that fun, skip-down-the-runway attitude that Ms. Rykiel always brought to her shows, and I know Miranda Kerr, who led the show, enjoys skipping. Yes, she’s not been creative director at her brand since 2008, but the label continues to wander away from the comfortableness that was Ms. Rykiel’s trademark. When I saw a leather shift come down the runway this afternoon, I almost cried.

What remains are the large, over-sized sweaters that are a Sonia Rykiel staple. Quick history lesson (skip this part if I’ve told you before): Back when your parents were still in diapers (1962 to be precise), Sonia became rather upset because she was pregnant and couldn’t find a sweater that felt comfortable and soft enough against her skin. This lead her to create her own line in 1964 and in a very short matter of time she was known as the “queen of knits.” Sweaters are the core DNA of this label and fortunately they are still a dominant part of the line. Da Conciaco doesn’t seem to know what to do with them, though, and as he tries his hand at layering too often he ends up with is scrunched up fabric or so much bulk that one has to walk sideways through doorways.

Stripes are replaced by prints this season and the rosette pattern is nice enough, but the cursive of the hand writing print is such that even with still pictures I can’t quite make out what it’s supposed to say. Print fail.

One other huge difference here is the shoes. Sonia had a thing for heels. She once said, “You can’t have the high life if you’re not wearing high heels.” Well, there are no heels in this collection. Instead, we have platforms that, while perhaps more comfortable for contemporary women, completely change the shape of a woman’s leg.

We could forgive da Conciaco last year because he was still fairly new and trying to adjust to the label. My guess is that Mrs. Rykiel may not be the easiest person with whom to work, considering he’s the fourth creative director they’ve had since she stepped aside. I have trouble believing she was involved in this collection, though. Too many of the foundations of the brand are missing. I know that Sonia has had to back off her schedule tremendously due to her battling Parkinson’s disease.  I know brands change with time, but I look at this collection and cannot help but miss the things that made Sonia Rykiel so wonderful. I do hope they come back soon.

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