I wasn’t sure what to expect this afternoon. Less than two months have passed since the legendary designer with the fiery red hair left us, another victim of Parkinson’s Disease. Julie de Libran has been creative director since 2014, but with so many tributes to the designer having already occurred, there was no way to know which direction she might take the show.
She went for sentimental. 13 red-headed models in black sweaters with a giant letter on each one spelled out “RYKIEL FOREVER” across the front of the runway. As the girls walked and made their turn, one can be quite sure there were more than a few people reaching for a tissue.
The clothes, of course, had to be blue, and there had to be stripes. There was plenty of both. De Libran started with an oversized two-toned blue shirt and a long blue skirt. As we’ve seen so often this season, most the look run very long and very full. The trend seems at home here, though. Ms. Rykiel was always interested in keeping clothes comfortable and designing looks that women would want to wear. She was very utilitarian in her approach and de Libran does a good job of captured that spirit throughout the collection.
De Libran keeps the fabrics and textures varied, never staying with any one element too long and careful about what she mixes together. We see plenty of chiffon, cotton mesh, and even a bit of leather. There are plenty of tighter fitting sweater dresses but at the same time there is no shortage of full cotton tunics and roomy dresses. Look carefully and you’ll find stripes and external stitching somewhere on almost every piece.
What was new was a very large bag, the kind that you might take on a day’s excursion to the beach or anywhere else that one might need multiple changes of clothes. The bag was so large, in fact, the model carrying it walked rather unbalanced down the runway.
The show had plenty of good looks but was ultimately all about Sonia. As models made their finale walk, confetti canons fired covering both models and guests in bright silver pieces of metallic paper. This was a celebration of a much loved designer whose impact on the fashion world is not going to fade any time soon.