Timeless nonchalance at Sonia Rykiel's Paris show

THOMAS ADAMSON Associated Press Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Octogenarian Sonia Rykiel looked on from the front row Friday at her fall-winter read-to-wear show that the program notes said went back to the "effervescent seventies."

But the collection, designed by the new creative director April Crichton, seemed more timeless than anything else.

A black-and-white skirt suit opened the show, followed by trompe l'oeil shirtdresses with revamped 1950s headbands and a showcasing of tight Edwardian-era collars -- a new feature in the house's normally more casual style.

Stricter than previous shows it may have been, but the sageness of higher necklines and lower hems was shot down in many pieces with cheeky flesh-baring cutouts -- a wink from a house that prides itself on nonchalance.

One thick knit oyster skirt and jumper in mohair and alpaca looked sumptuous. But maybe a little hard to wear?

"Oh no, don't worry," said Nathalie Rykiel, 81-year-old Sonia's daughter and company president. "It's thin wool, we would never make something too hot. Fashion is about awareness, complicity among women."

It's a philosophy that clearly instructed the models, who, laughing and skipping, took the final curtain call holding hands.