PARIS--The smiling model. So rare. Like some exotic Arctic animal that a National Geographic photographer stakes out for weeks. Yet you can always find them at Sonia Rykiel. Don't they look happy? And don't their ears look warm? (And do they even still sell those disposable cardboard cameras that one model seems to be holding?) While the models were all smiles for the finale, Sonia Rykiel's fall collection was a little less cheery than usual--and there was barely a striped knit (Rykiel's hallmark) in sight. The inspiration for the collection was "Paris in the effervescent Seventies, Sonia, redheaded muse with the soul of a poet, draped in signature voluminous coats," according to the show notes. And there were plenty of "signature" coats shown: simple and chic wool pea coats; thicker plush sherbet colored ones--one in fur and a chunky one with a rolled collar that buttoned on the side; and even some cropped blazers. As for what you'll be wearing under those coats? Cropped crease-front wide leg trousers, body-hugging ribbed knit tops and skirts, effortless flimsy silk blouses, and all of it cinched by a simple skinny black belt with a round gold buckle.
Fung Brands Ltd., recently acquired 80 percent of Rykiel, leaving the Rykiel family (Sonia's daughter Nathalie is the president) with a 20 percent share. And with this solid collection of uber-chic Parisian basics (note there was nothing frivolous, no purely show pieces here), it seems like Fung Brands has made a sound investment.