THE INSIDER: NATHALIE RYKIEL
The goddess of sweater dresses hits Manhattan with H&M!
Last season, Sonia Rykiel paired with H&M on a range of naughty-but-nice underwear that turned everyone into a bombshell. Now, the French label brings their trademark pieces - striped knitwear made sexy, flirty, and cool - to America with a limited-edition line for the Swedish chain store.
This story was published on February 4, 2010.
We grabbed a cup of coffee with Nathalie Rykiel, the label's creative director (and daughter of Sonia), to talk about the starry, striped collection.
Bienvenue a New York! Have you noticed a difference between American style and Parisian style? It used to be that Parisian style had many different facets - there was the Right Bank style, which was very luxurious, and the Left Bank style, which was very bohemian and cool. But when Sonia Rykiel started, it was to create a fun, sexy, cool style that would resonate with women, and turn fashion into more than just "Left Bank" or "Right Bank." So I don't think there's a difference between American, Parisian, British - no. I think there's a difference between Sonia Rykiel girls and then everyone else.
How is the collection for H&M different from the collection we'll see on Paris runways next month? This H&M collection is a distillation - it's the essence of Sonia Rykiel put into pieces. We have certain signatures - the stripes, the bold colors, the trompe l'oiel, the knitwear - that will always be part of what we see as fun, sexy, young fashion.
And before you paired up with H&M, did you notice any similarities between your style and theirs? Are you asking if H&M has used my designs?
Um...? Well, yes, of course! They copy me all the time! Finally I said, "Look, if you want your girls to wear Sonia Rykiel from H&M, let's let them have the real thing!"
You run the company started by your mother. Do you have advice for young designers who aren't born into it? You can't be born into it. You have to want it on your own. You have to live it and breathe it and die for it. I would tell young women that they should only be designers if they can't do anything else, because you have to love it, and it's a very difficult business. And it's not all about talent - of course, talent is great and there are lots of talented designers who make beautiful things. But if you don't love it so much, it becomes the essence of your life, then what's the point?
When are you doing a fashion show in New York? I'll tell you what - you get me Bergdorf Goodman or The Met or another great department store, or a wonderful museum, and ask them to host my collection and my show. And as soon as that happens, I'm yours!
It's a deal.
Can I ask you a question? Can I take a picture of you and put you on my Sonia Rykiel blog?
Only if we can put you on ours!
Sonia Rykiel for H&M hits stores on February 20. If you're in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, or the District of Columbia, you can buy it in your state!