Born in 1930, French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel is noted for her reinvention of women's sweaters. She began designing them while she was pregnant and unable to find any comfortable maternity sweaters that suited her taste. She first sold her creations in her husband's boutique before later opening up her own boutique in 1968 on Paris's Left Bank.
Noted for innovating the pullover sweater, Rykiel's creative reworking of the popular article of clothing soon made it her signature piece. From options with exposed seams and no hems to offerings that had words on them, as well as both extremely short and long varieties, Rykiel's work encouraged women to create an individual fashion. She rejected the rules of haute couture and believed that women should decide for themselves what was stylish and comfortable. She wanted women to have freedom of movement and even wear sweaters over the naked skin. She promoted her philosophy of ""la demode,"" which means ""unfashion.""
As of 2014, Rykiel's daughter, Nathalie, is the company's president and artistic director. The brand's first fragrance, Septieme Sense, was launched in 1979, though Nathalie expanded the fragrance division in the 1990s through the creation of Le Parfum, L'eau de Sonia Rykiel and Rykiel Homme. She also launched its Rykiel Enfant line in 1984.
Rykiel has written nine books and won many accolades, and was even dubbed the ""Queen of Knits"" by Women's Wears Daily in 1970. She also serves as the honorary president of the company.