NYC Outpost Marks The Brand’s First Free-Standing Store Under Creative Direction of Julie de Libran
Sonia Rykiel has announced the opening of its new Madison Avenue boutique, marking the French fashion brand’s first free-standing store in North America under ownership of First Heritage Brands and the creative leadership of Artistic Director Julie de Libran.
Sonia Rykiel was founded in 1968 in Paris, France by Madame Sonia Rykiel whose signature feminine and irreverent knitwear embodied the spirit of her St. Germain-des-Pres neighborhood and launched an internationally renowned fashion brand. The business expanded beyond ready-to-wear into leather goods, shoes, a contemporary line named Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, a children’s collection, as well as home furnishings with Sonia Rykiel Maison. In 2012 First Heritage Brands acquired an 80% interest in the company to further develop the global potential of the business.
Sonia Rykiel Madison Avenue covers approximately 2,000 square feet (185 square meters) of a single floor and houses the brand’s ready-to-wear, accessories, leather goods, and footwear collections. The store design concept – conceived by de Libran in collaboration with artist André Saraiva and publisher Thomas Lenthal – is a continuation of the retail story brought to life in Paris, London and Tokyo this past year.
Inspired by Paris’ literary cafés, Sonia Rykiel Madison is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, housing more than 15,000 volumes of French literature. Vibrant red lacquer covers the walls, shelves, and ceilings, punctuated by mirrored display columns and accessories trays. Vintage 1960s black leather sofas and chairs create a welcoming environment, while custom carpet designed by Saraiva, featuring a playful pattern of eyes, lips, pencils, cigarettes and books, adds a charming touch.
The store is scented with a custom infusion of rosewater, mandarin, vetiver and jasmine – a perfume developed by Danielle Andrieux for the Sonia Rykiel flagship in Saint-Germain. Two large display windows face the street: one is dedicated to the brand’s new “Le Copain” handbag, the other with vintage furniture and reclining red lacquered mannequins.
“We are thrilled to bring Sonia Rykiel back to Madison Avenue,” said Eric Langon, CEO of Sonia Rykiel. “This is a key step in the brand’s global development. We look forward to growing our footprint in the United States and to our continued acceleration – under Julie de Libran’s creative direction – for the years to come.“
Today, Sonia Rykiel remains based in Paris and the companies various collections are distributed in more than 60 countries around the world through directly operated retail stores and a select network of influential department stores and specialty retailers. With over 33 free-standing retail locations around the world, the Madison Avenue store opening is key to Sonia Rykiel’s strategic expansion in the United States, which includes the launch of shop-in-shops at Bloomingdales this past year, a growing wholesale business with leading retailers and major department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue.