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Sonia Rykiel Celebrates Women With a Bananarama Dance Party

Baby, she’s got it

To view the full Sonia Rykiel Fall 2018 collection, click here.

There were so many smiles at the Sonia Rykiel show this season. Models all but skipped down the runway—often hand in hand, or arm in arm in some sort of best-friend troupe, with their hair frizzed in the same fashion as the late Mme. Rykiel’s—grinning ear to ear, and in one case, even sharing a smooch. The audience was smiling too, because for Fall 2018, creative director Julie de Libran really found her groove. She channeled vintage Rykiel runways, on which models did, in fact, strut ensemble, and also that vintage Rykiel spirit, one that was all about joy, comfort, feminine strength, empowerment, and fun. Fun has, since the iconic Left Bank house’s inception, always been an integral part of Sonia Rykiel, and there were heaps of it here. De Libran sent out giant furry looks in multiple colors, comfy velvet suits that would be equally at home on the dance floor or at a pajama party, cozy top-to-toe tartan looks, cute little berets, and a suit jacket with zipped cutouts worn by a dancing model. The roomy coats, ’80s suits, destroyed knits, and striped knits (all the knits!) that de Libran proposed are everything fun-loving, stylish women want to wear today. Perhaps women like Bananarama’s Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey, and Keren Woodward, who played “He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin,’” “Cruel Summer,” and “Venus” live while models stormed the runway for the finale. Streamer cannons erupted, spitting out strands of metallic ribbon, and showgoers—editors included—danced and sang before joining the models to shimmy and cheer and sip champagne. It was glorious.

“The starting point was celebrating women,” said de Libran after the show. “I looked at [Madame Rykiel’s] shows where she always gathered women together, and they had so much fun, and there was so much joy. It was important for me tonight to celebrate those women, and to have these [models] together, and they were so excited, so happy. Empowerment is important,” she continued. “I want women to feel comfortable in their clothes, and to wear clothes they’re proud of. I want women not to be scared and to wear things that make them strong. I wanted to toughen things up because, in the world we’re living in right now, a bit of tough is good—women have to be tough. Sonia Rykiel was tough, and the Sonia Rykiel women are tough.” Hear, hear. And at a time when so many designers are capitalizing on the whole “female empowerment” message to sell merch, de Libran’s effort felt completely genuine—these were clothes for women, by a woman, that will make women feel fantastic.

Oh, and about Bananarama. The group recently kicked off a world tour, which marks the first time the trio has played together in 30 years. After a gig in New York, they hopped a plane and came to the Sonia Rykiel show. “They were the biggest hit of the women’s bands,” de Libran said of why she chose the ’80s sensation. Indeed, the group has the most UK chart entries in history—an achievement that earned them a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. “I am a huge fan,” de Libran gushed. “And music was always a huge inspiration for me growing up, so I wanted to celebrate women, music, and fashion tonight.” Also worth celebrating? A job well done.

To view the full Sonia Rykiel Fall 2018 collection, click here.

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