Rykiel has continued to build her very own French Empire since the ’70s. She recognised the wisdom of establishing a beauty line early on, launching a perfume in 1978 and cosmetics in 1987. Completely independent, Rykiel’s business is very much a family affair. Husband Simon Bernstein is her business partner and daughter Nathalie Rykiel has been involved in the company since 1975. With such support, Sonia has the freedom to do other things.
Today, Madame Rykiel is something of a French institution. She has written novels, decorated hotels, sung a duet with Malcolm McLaren and even had a rose named after her. And the accolades keep on coming. Rykiel has been awarded an Oscar by Fashion Group International and in December 2001, the French government named her Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Merite. Now in her seventies, the grande dame of French fashion shows no signs of giving up. She has an army of sweater-loving women depending on her, after all.