In today's WWD, there's a big story about Sonia Rykiel's push to increase its US sales.
The French fashion house will show its resort and pre-spring collections at Milk Studios this week, which should draw more US buyers than its Paris presentations. The company has also hired Caroline Dumiel as director of international sales. Dumiel's experience includes stints at Kenzo and Polo Ralph Lauren; she was responsible for the US market at both companies.
Known best for knitwear that's quirky and sexy at once, Rykiel's never really been a household name here in the US. The slightly whimsical, pop art-inspired designs oppose the preppy aesthetic most Americans favor.
While indie boutiques like Bird sell her diffusion line--Sonia by Sonia Rykiel--you'd be hard-pressed to find many women with wardrobes filled with several Rykiel pieces. (My future mother-in-law, however, is an exception. She exclusively wore Rykiel in the 1980s and '90s, but she is not your typical American customer: She was born in Poland and educated at the Sorbonne.)
The good news: Classic French styles--Breton stripes, jersey everything--are ultra-popular right now in the US. And other French brands, including Isabel Marant, Paul & Joe, and Vanessa Bruno--have seen their popularity in the market surge.
Fashionista believes this is the perfect time for Rykiel to up the ante here in the US. Will you buy into her aesthetic?