Julie de Libran was greeting guests at the entrance of Sonia Rykiel’s Boulevard Saint Germain boutique tonight. The scene was set for her debut as creative director with waiters from Café de Flore, Rykiel’s neighbor across the famous Left Bank street, serving champagne and finger sandwiches. “It’s a homecoming,” she said. Paris fashion week has been marked by good-byes—Peter Copping at Nina Ricci, Guillaume Henry at Carven—so it was pretty sweet to witness an arrival, especially one as genuinely promising as this.
Rykiel has shuffled through a couple of designers since the house founder retired in 2009. The work has never measured up to her legacy. De Libran comes to Rykiel from Louis Vuitton, where she designed the preseason collections under Marc Jacobs, but her connections to the Rykiel brand are deep. “My mother wore it a lot, so this felt like coming back to her closet a little bit,” said de Libran. “There are so many codes, and there’s such a nice heritage, which I’m lucky to be able to take from and reinvent, to kind of close the archive, and just go by my selective memory.”