French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel has died at the age of 86. The flame-haired designer, renowned for her fun, colorful collections and nicknamed the “Queen of Knitwear,” had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for more than 15 years.
“My mother died at 5 am this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s,” her daughter Nathalie Rykiel announced in a statement this morning.
The designer kept her condition private for many years, but decided to confirm her diagnosis in 2012 when her symptoms became too difficult to hide.
Rykiel opened her first store on Paris’s Left Bank in 1968 and quickly became a popular and well-respected designer, with fans including Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot. She eventually passed over the creative-director reigns to her daughter Nathalie, taking on the title of honorary president. She was awarded The Order of the Légion d’Honneur in 2009 in recognition of 40 years of service to the French fashion industry.
The label is currently headed up by the designer Julie de Libran, who was appointed in 2014 and oversees the ready-to-wear collections.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US