Sonia Rykiel’s creative director Julie de Libran leaves
Sonia Rykiel is undergoing far-reaching strategic changes. The Parisian fashion label, which did not show at the recent Paris Fashion Week, has parted ways with Julie de Libran, its creative director since May 2014, and is actively seeking new financial partners.
The news was first reported by US fashion trade journal WWD and has been confirmed to FashionNetwork.com by a source at Sonia Rykiel, who said the label is looking for a partner “to boost its development.”
Julie de Libran was creative director for women's ready-to-wear and studio director at Louis Vuitton from 2008 to 2014. She then joined Sonia Rykiel, a label into which she injected fresh zest, while staying true to its Parisian identity with a strong emphasis on knitwear and a casual-chic mood.
Before Louis Vuitton, from 1998 to 2008, de Libran worked for Prada, as design director for women's ready-to-wear. Her last show for Sonia Rykiel took place in September 2018 as the label celebrated its 50th anniversary, and was held in the then-inaugurated Parisian street dedicated to the eponymous designer, who died in 2016.
The label, whose style is synonymous with cheerful Parisian fashion, was founded in 1968 by Sonia Rykiel. Since 2012, it is owned by First Heritage Brands, a company founded by Jean-Marc Loubier with Hong Kongese family Fung, also the owner of the Clergerie footwear label and the Delvaux leather goods brand. First Heritage Brands has a 100% stake in Sonia Rykiel.
Before the acquisition, Sonia Rykiel generated a revenue of about €80 million, now reportedly down to between €20 million and €30 million. It is in the midst of a restructuring phase, after discontinuing its second line, cutting down on staff and repositioning the main brand. At the end of 2017, Jean-Marc Loubier told FashionNetwork.com that, “after a comprehensive overhaul, Sonia Rykiel is expanding again and has taken back direct control of the Japanese market.”
According to sources cited by WWD, First Heritage Brands intends to sell Sonia Rykiel and its four stores, including the long-established flagship on boulevard Saint Germain in Paris. Since summer 2018, the label is led by Perry Oosting, formerly general manager of Clergerie, who replaced Eric Langon, who joined Sonia Rykiel in 2012.
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