Sonia Rykiel's invitation came printed with a single word: legend. In an industry not shy about self-aggrandizement, for once this description was accurate. Rykiel holds the same place in the hearts of the French as the Marianne, Edith Piaf, and les frites. Rykiel's most recent collections have continued to perpetuate her truly French persona. She canand doessend out skinny sweaters, feather boas, and floppy fedora hats tilted at a rakish angle, time and time again. Yet it's so intrinsically her that it works.
Will it survive a transatlantic crossing, though? Caution is advised when it comes to the acid-green linen dress trailing strands of marabou, or the jingle-jangling tops strewn with gold coins. But there are pieces worthy of consideration: a pink floral organza tea dress with fluttery hems and a champagne satin thirties-look evening dress delicious as a coup of Dom Pérignon. Rykiel is no slouch when it comes to accessories: The sun hats, crystal-studded belts, and multitude of black bangles inlaid with mother-of-pearl all looked good. (Note to early adopters: A stack of bangles is all set to replace the brooch next season.)
Rykiel also provided her audience with one of her signature, sentimental finales. As a lounge singer crooned "Imagine," models in brightly colored cotton evening dresses sat on the stage, swaying in time. Then a curtain went up on a crowd of striped sweater-dress-clad models who strolled down the runway, whooping and cheering. It could have all been as ripe as Camembert had not Rykiel appeared with her beaming grandchild Salomé; that alone turned it from trite to a touching family affair.