Sonia Rykiel née Flis is a French fashion designer. Ethnically a Russian-Romanian Jew, Sonia Rykiel was born in Neuilly, a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France, the eldest of five daughters of a Russian mother and a Romanian father. At the age of 17, she was employed to dress the window displays in a Parisian textile store. In 1953, Sonia married Sam Rykiel, owner of a boutique selling elegant clothing. In 1962, unable to find soft sweaters to wear during her pregnancy, she used one of her husband's suppliers from Venice to design her own sweaters. Sonia Rykiel thereafter created her first maternity dresses and a tiny sweater, called the Poor Boy Sweater, which she started selling from her husband's label "Laura". The Poor Boy Sweater made the cover of ELLE fashion magazine, and brought Rykiel fame; because of it, she was crowned "Queen of Knits" by the Americans in 1967. Since then, she has continued to experiment to expand her offerings. She later became the first designer to put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on her sweaters. In particular, she favours long clinging sweaters or small cropped pullovers, large rolled-back cuffs and long shawls. Her color palette usually features beige, grey, dark blue, and charcoal.
- Born: May 25, 1930 (age 88), Neuilly-sur-Seine
- Spouse: Sam Rykiel (1954 to 1968 - Marriage)
- Children: Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Nathalie Rykiel