Paris names its first street after a fashion designer


Models walk past the Allée Sonya Rykiel sign after Saturday night’s Sonia Rykiel Spring-Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

In a city yet to name a back alley after Coco Chanel, Parisians stepped out Sunday to do their organic shopping at a street market named after fashion designer Sonia Rykiel.


Hours earlier the city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo — something of a fashionista herself — had declared Allée Sonya Rykiel open, with her label staging its Paris fashion week show between the twinkling lights of the market stalls.


 


The “allee” is in the middle of a grand Left Bank boulevard where the late designer, who died in 2016, did her fruit and vegetable shopping.


 


It is the first time the French capital has named any kind of thoroughfare after a fashion designer.


 


To celebrate, Rykiel’s successor Julie de Libran staged a chi-chi Parisian market-themed show, with her models carrying baguettes or popping out for a bit of broccoli in lace nighties and a techno trenchcoats. The collection, with dresses inspired by the “petit filet” string shopping bags that are de rigueur among Paris’ hipster “bobos”, had a Saturday night-Sunday morning feel, with a cute terrier on a lead and De Libran’s young son and his Labrador pup making a cameo.


 


“Sonia Rykiel gave us a taste for freedom, she was the most Parisian of Parisians,” said Hidalgo. 


 


Indeed the designer opened her first shop a stone’s throw away in Saint Germain des Pres just as French students rose up in revolt in May 1968.

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A file picture taken on March 14, 1993 shows Sonia Rykiel applauded by her models at the 1993-94 autumn/winter collection in Paris. Rykiel, the so-called Queen of Knitwear, died on August 25, 2016 at the age of 86 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Photo: PIERRE GUILLAUD / AFP


 


But the authorities in the French capital would not be drawn on whether there were any plans for a Boulevard Karl Lagerfeld or Avenue Christian Dior. A street named after Chanel would be politically tricky in a city which mostly votes for the left because of the designer’s “horizontal collaboration” during the Nazi occupation.


 


Chanel spent much of the war in the Ritz hotel with her lover, German intelligence officer Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage.


 


By AFP’s Fiachra Gibbons


 





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