Sonia Rykiel urged women to be eccentric, seductive, mysterious, and to create their own style. She arrived (in every sense of the word) on Paris’ Left Bank in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1968. The neighborhood was a haven to artists from the world over and she quickly became its heart.

The movement she created was intimately linked to the ready-to-wear revolution taking place in 1970s Paris. She typified a new generation of designers who launched their own labels outside the established system of Haute Couture.

Sonia Rykiel innovated not just with the cut of her garments, but also with her philosophy of fashion. She collaborated with the popular French mail-order company Les 3 Suisses in 1977 (shock! horror!) and then released a renegade fragrance, 7ème sens, the following year. She designed sweaters closer to the body than they had ever been — a sweater had never been sexier. Declared “Queen of Knits” by Women’s Wear Daily in 1972, Sonia Rykiel became an international icon.