Today’s hot ticket that you can’t get came for Julie de Libran’s debut at Sonia Rykiel. Since her days as Marc Jacobs’ assistant at Louis Vuitton, fashion insiders have been waiting for this talented designer to break out and begin establishing her own name. Now is the time, Sonia Rykiel is the place, and no, you can’t get a ticket. Why? Like so many shows in Paris this season, the house downsized the show. They dropped a couple hundred seats, and went for a much more intimate setting inside one of their Paris stores. For many labels, downsizing was an economic necessity. For Sonia Rykiel, though, it was a marketing strategy as the lower number of available seats immediately made them more valuable and more desirable. Everyone in Paris was wanting a look at this presentation.
Julie didn’t disappoint, either. Working from a stripe motif that is a house standard, and pulling from some of Rykiel’s own silhouettes from the 70s, de Libran creates a collection that is fresh, hip, sexy, and appealing. Yes, this collection skews toward that twenty-something crowd, but it does so with plenty of fudge room so that one doesn’t have to hang it up on their 30th birthday. In short, as long as you can fit in the clothes, the clothes will look good on you.
Not surprisingly, silhouettes are lean and skirts are short, sometimes very short. There are plenty of pants and jumpers in this collection, though, and de Libran uses the 70s looks (which she says reminds her of her own mother wearing the label) to dump the skinny jean look that has been standard with the house the past several seasons. While legs are not as flared as some we’ve seen this season, they are more roomy while still maintaining a fairly trim look. Cropped tops, micro-short shorts, and knit capes make multiple appearances as well.
Denim, which is getting quite a workout this season, is what holds the bulk of the 70s aesthetic, though a few touches of fringe help as well. What’s important here, though, is that de Libran pairs that with more contemporary fabrics and styles so there are only a couple of times when one feels that she’s raiding her mom’s closet. There’s plenty of texture in all the knits, and even the fur sleeve accents don’t seem too terribly out of place. Julie gets a bit daring with some of the lace pieces, including one black number that might not be street legal in some communities.
Looking back is a fairly standard procedure when someone first takes over a well-known label. Expect de Libran to ease carefully into this new position. The house has gone through several creative directors of late and I’m sure she doesn’t want to become just another name on the list. It will take a few seasons before we see Julie really start to put her own mark on the brand. This is definitely a good start, though, and it was extremely well received. We’ll all be looking forward to seeing what she does for fall/winter.
Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier