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She passed away at 86 years old after battling with Parkinson's Disease for more than 15 years. Hollande praised her as "a pioneer" who "offered women freedom of movement". "I realised that beauty was nudity." she said "I wanted women wearing sweaters to have the impression that they were naked".

If fashion is art, Sonia Rykiel is considered a master.

In 1968, Sonia Rykiel opens the first "Sonia Rykiel" couture store in Saint-Germain-des-PRes on Grenelle Street. She designed an entire collection of knitted dresses and sweaters. Some of Rykiel's earliest celebrity clients were Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. The Sonia Rykiel brand eventually expanded to include menswear, children's clothing, and fragrances, and in 2009, a collaboration with H&M brought Rykiel's appeal to a whole new generation. For the designer's 40th anniversary show in 2008, Nathalie, who had taken over the creative direction of the house in 1995, had secretly asked 30 of the world's top designers to create a look in homage to her mother. But her first forays into fashion were more practical. She married Sam Rykiel, the owner of a Paris boutique, and had Nathalie at 25.

"We are working women", she explained to the Times back in 1987.

A world of striped knits
A world of striped knits

Rykiel played herself in Robert Altman's 1994 satire Pret-a-Porter which was filmed during Paris fashion week, and wrote several books. "People are going to figure out that I don't know anything, '" she told the Le Nouvel Observateur in a 2005 interview. By 1970, the fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily had dubbed Rykiel the "queen of knitwear".

"She was chic and cool, very Left Bank", said legendary French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. "It worked out, because my mother strove to liberate women", she said.

"I convey my honest condolences to her children Nathalie and Jean-Philippe and their family and close ones who are in pain".

Rykiel, whose voluminous red bob made her instantly recognizable, began designing nearly accidentally, while pregnant with her first child in 1956. No information about a memorial ceremony was immediately available.