Radar: Sonia Rykiel to dress yanks

The fashion house known for their demure models and comfy knits will now not only call France home… but the United States as well. A smooth marketing move for Sonia Rykiel, the brand's execs estimate that the American market could eventually make up 35 to 40 percent of total sales (versus the current 20 percent). Instead of popping up shop all over the 50 states, Rykiel is targeting her ideal consumer by stocking up quality boutiques and retailers. President Nathalie Rykiel says, “I am targeting the best department stores and multibrand shops”. Besides Net-A-Porter and Bloomingdales, the shops include Ikram in Chicago, Wilkes Bashford in San Francisco and Tootsies in Houston.

Known as the go-to brand for quality knitwear since the early 60s, Rykiel has no intention to stop spreading her brand's image. She says, “I want people to see that, after 42 years, we are still making the most sexy and desirable knits”. Although yankee ladies don't account for a huge percentage of her market, she knows they'll be showing up in droves. “I know that American women have always been drawn to the style of French women,” Rykiel says.

As part of the transformation, they'll be putting Caroline Dumiel as director of international sales. She's an easy pick for the position because of her background in sales at Kenzo and Polo Ralph Lauren.

When will it hit the streets? WWD reports, “The pre-spring collection, to be presented in showroom appointments at Milk Studios from Tuesday to Saturday, will ship in separate batches in October and December in order to satisfy the U.S. market’s requirement for regularly replenished stock”.

The brand, which was inspired by the Paris student riots of ‘68, is ready to start a commotion in the U.S. “It’s telling the world—loud and clear—who we are”, Rykiel says.

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