Sonia Rykiel Brand Reboot Debuts With Online Show

RYKIEL’S RETURN: Sonia Rykiel’s brand reboot made its debut with an online presentation Sunday, showing leggy models in snug, knit tops in the label’s trademark stripes and HotPants, prancing around the ornate Palais Brogniart in Paris.

Broadcast through Instagram, the video clip shows a sporty, youthful lineup of knitwear — short cardigans, loose sweaters, cropped tops with various renditions of the house’s historic stripes, along with a few patterns — mostly lips or hearts, and the occasional R for “Rykiel,” applied sparingly.

The scene opens with a model prying open an enormous set of double doors. She links up with others, who rise up slowly from a huge marble basin or stretch in front of a stairway, and eventually a group is assembled. They move down a staircase to walk wide, colorful runways that form stripes on the floor of a vast room lined with arched columns.

“Follow the Stripes” flashes on the screen.

The presentation marks an important new step for the label, which was purchased by brothers Eric Dayan and Michael Dayan, entrepreneurs who made their fortune building an online private sales platform.

The pair won a court-managed bidding process for the brand’s assets, including archives, intellectual property rights, prototypes and the last collection. The label’s previous owners had struggled to make it profitable, despite its heritage and critical approval of collections by its last designer Julie de Libran — it has become increasingly challenging for smaller brands to adapt in a digitalized industry, which calls for steep investments in technology and infrastructure.

The Dayan brothers have emphasized social networks, and fired up the Instagram account in May last year, shortly after taking over the label — just under a year after it had gone into receivership. They launched e-commerce in October, in all markets at once — in 30 currencies — showcasing styles the brand plans to emphasize going forward, like fitted sweaters, stripes and, for extra glamour, the occasional rhinestone embellishments.

The online presentation was broadcast just before Paris Fashion week kicks off. The brand has been in contact with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and is mulling the idea of seeking a return to the official Paris fashion calendar in the future.

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