After a five year absence, walking into the new Sonia Rykiel boutique is like returning to your childhood playroom. It’s a destination where your senses are delighted and your imagination is challenged.
From a design prospective, the boutique, which just opened today, is triumphantly similar to the flagship in Paris. Rich red lacquer covers the walls, shelves, and ceilings while an iconic surreal print carpets the floors.
The 2000-sq.ft. boutique even contains a Saint Germain replica library, which includes over 15,000 volumes of French literature, classic cafe tables and chairs. The most distinctive difference from the designer’s Paris store is the black and white checkered floors that pairs seamlessly with the Mark Hotel, which is only 10 blocks North.
It only makes sense that Sonia Rykiel’s artistic director, Julie de Libran, would choose to duplicate the boutique design in her first store in the United States. After all, it can’t be easy to stand in the footprints of a woman who fearlessly designed clothing that pushed the boundaries of color, construction and composition.
We were delighted by the array of brightly colored furs and classic Rykiel stripes that can be found on soft sweaters, scarves and more formally presented in tweed on a jacket-shorts ensemble. A zipped lurex tweed coat is a sure crowd pleaser. It’s a New York friendly black-on-black stripe that’s both modern and true to the brand.
The brand’s new “Le Copain” handbag is highlighted within the boutique and showcased in the store’s two large display windows. The bag’s design is cute but doesn’t encompass the key elements of an it-bag nor does it translate the occult whimsy of the brand’s namesake. Something along the lines of Elena Ghisellini’s Felina bags may be a more natural fit.
The children’s collection is not yet on the sales floor but is available at the boutique by request. We are told that the kid’s merchandise will be displayed once the opening frenzy dies down. We are quite sure that after a five year hiatus, Rykiel fans and superfans will celebrating for some time.
816 Madison Avenue @ 68th Street