Sonia Rykiel is to be liquidated after a judge rejected the sale of the French fashion house.
Founded by the legendary designer, who was dubbed the Queen of Knits, in 1968, the brand was known for knitwear designs as well as clothing, accessories, and fragrances.
However, the iconic label is to cease operations effective immediately, with 131 employees being let go, and all four boutiques and six stores across Monaco and France closing.
On Thursday, a Paris commercial court judge ended a four-month period of negotiations by rejecting a bid from Paris-based family firm Levy to buy the struggling fashion house, according to editors at Business of Fashion.
Uncertainty first loomed over the company when its owner, First Heritage Brands, unsuccessfully sought a buyer or investment for Sonia Rykiel back in January.
In March, the investment giant – helmed by French luxury executive Jean-Marc Loubier – let the house’s creative director Julie de Libran go, and in April, it entered receivership, and closed stores in New York and London.
Agnes Trouble, veteran French designer and founder of the Agnes b. brand, told reporters at AFP that news of the fashion house folding was like Sonia Rykiel herself had “died a second time”.
“It’s the end of an era. Dior and Saint Laurent are all about bling now – they no longer have the Parisian elegance they used to have” she added.
Rykiel, who died in 2016 at the age of 86 following complications from Parkinson’s disease, made her name in fashion with the creation of the “Poor Boy” sweater’ that Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1960s.
Investment group First Heritage Brands – backed by Hong Kong billionaires Victor and William Fung – bought her brand back in 2011 and relaunched the house with millions of dollars of new investment.
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