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Sonia Rykiel’s New Bag Is an Ode to Rebellion

…and it’s shaped like a cobblestone

May of 1968—and the decades that followed—was a time of great civil unrest in Paris. Mass protests and nationwide strikes against the French hierarchy marked a major social and cultural revolution in France.

It was also the same year the late Sonia Rykiel opened her very first boutique on Paris’ Left Bank. (The red-headed visionary and fierce supporter of women passed away at age 86 two years ago.) To celebrate the half-century anniversary of that watershed summer, the brand has launched a new bag, the Pavé Parisian, which literally translates to “Parisian cobblestone.” Cuboid in shape, the cross-body accessory is emblematic of the brick cobblestones student protestors used during the riots.

Though the Pavé was officially introduced in May, artistic director Julie de Libran quietly unveiled the bag during her recent Fall 2018 Couture collection in Paris, a first for the house and a special show to mark its 50th anniversary. (The Pavé can also be spotted in the house’s Resort 2019 lookbook.)

“With the Pavé, I hope we remember the legacy of Sonia Rykiel and the era that embodied her vision, a period that overturned social codes and conventions with effortless brilliance,” de Libran told Fashion Unfiltered.

The bag’s launch and subsequent message is relevant on a global scale. Here in the U.S., this week alone has seen numerous protests erupt as a form of opposition against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Abroad in France, the summer has seen a wave of strikes and demonstrations against the country’s centrist leader, Emmanuel Macron, and his controversial reforms. Such timeliness was not lost on de Libran. “The mood and sentiments during that period are relevant today more than ever,” she said. “The feeling of rebellion and embracing counterculture is particularly relevant for the house of Sonia Rykiel—and it is something that we wanted to communicate with the launch of the Pavé.”

 

The murky category of “protest fashion” can get a bad rap, but de Libran, who will present her Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection in Paris later this month, thinks fashion can “be a dialogue between innovation and society, a reflection of what is happening in our current culture and times.” What’s more, she added, “it can be used to spread a message or vision—and, yes, encourage positivity, open our minds to other possibilities, and create change.”

 

The Pavé comes in eight different colors—forest green, red, brown, navy blue, black, turquoise, mustard, and white—all in grained bull skin and retailing for $990. (There’s also a studded version for$1,640, seen on Lili Sumner in the brand’s recent Fall 2018 ad campaign, above.) It’s carried at Barneys New York, Sonia Rykiel retail locations worldwide, and online at soniarykiel.com.

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