PFW: Sonia Rykiel meets Niki de Saint Phalle
Attractive and alluring fashion was on a menu where the insouciance of Niki de Saint Phalle encountered the smart St Germain chic of the designer in an upbeat show staged inside the École des Beaux Arts.
"Not many people realize that Niki and Sonia were both born in the same year (1930) so I wanted to express the idea of creative women and all their power," explained de Libran post-show.
De Saint Phalle, known to visitors to Paris for the Stravinsky Fountain at the Pompidou Center that she created with Jean Tinguely, might have loved these clothes. They reflected fun times, like the mini Babushka-style velvet sponge dresses, a play on the often forgotten fact that Rykiel was of Russian origin.
Above all, it was the manner in which de Libran reinvented the house's knitwear that really impressed – with funky cable sweaters and some brilliant Aran sweaters cut like mini Samurai armor. Libran covered everything with another Rykiel leitmotif – feathers, flying off ballooning jackets or shaggy cocktail dresses.
The clothes burst with colors - just like the huge invitation, an image from a documentary on de Saint Phalle. However, the opening look was a dramatic all-white ruffled coat, like one of the super nanas that populated her art.
Patchwork parkas, revolutionary sans culottes pants and hippie floral pajama suits all echoed the colorful naivety we associated with both de Saint Phalle and Rykiel. Yet it was all given a contemporary twist by de Libran who, like the sculptress, moved in her youth to the United States before returning to achieve glory in her native France.
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