Innovator: Sonia Rykiel

I unexpectedly stumbled upon fashion designer Sonia Rykiel's obituary as I was reading this weekend's FT. I'd never heard of her and intended to skim it, but a number of things caught my eye, making me read more closely:

  • "Her lack of formal training was, in a perversely strong sense, Rykiel’s liberation."
  • "Rykiel loved to dance and have fun. On the catwalk she wanted her models not to stride and scowl but instead amble up and down in laughing, chattering clusters."

Intrigued, I searched for more about her and found this W Magazine piece from early 2015:

  • "In 1955, pregnant with her daughter, Nathalie, Rykiel devised a dress that flouted the convention of the time, when pregnant women camouflaged their bulging bellies."
  • "A writer herself, Rykiel has published more than a dozen works, including a novel, a children’s book, an abecedarian self-portrait in which 400 of her favorite words serve as points of departure for observations about fashion and life, and an epistolary exchange with her friend Régine Deforges, an editor, publisher, and outspoken author known for her erotic literature."

No formal training and therefore an ability to create unhindered by old paradigms, designing for herself, carving her own path and flouting conventions, and pursuing a broad range of interests...I love seeing that innovators in pretty much any field are actually quite similar.