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Sonia Rykiel laid to rest

FashionBy Sunday World
Sonia Rykiel laid to rest

Sonia Rykiel was laid to rest at Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris on Thursday (01.09.16).

The French fashion designer - who passed away on August 25 aged 86 after battling with Parkinson's disease for 15 years - was remembered in a moving ceremony that featured speeches and musical passages, including a performance by violinist Renaud Capucon before her body was interred at the famous cemetery.

Despite the sad tone of the day, the service opened with a musical mix by Sonia's composer son Jean-Phillippe that made people smile as he had sampled some of his mother's famous phrases such as "I started by making a sweater; I ended up the queen of knitwear, without even knowing how to knit," and "I love children, especially my own."

Usually-private former French prime minister Lionel Jospin shared personal memories of the designer, admitting he was clueless about fashion until they met and recalled a 1970s Vogue feature that described his look as "disastrous".

He said: "Entering Sonia Rykiel's world initiated me in the art of clothes.

"It also showed me what it takes to create a house, a style, a name that resonates both in France and the world over; the level of talent it involves, the ability to connect with women and capture l'air du temps, the sense of colour and form, the ability to seduce."

Sonia's beloved three granddaughters also gave speeches during the service.

Lola Rykiel, the brand's director of public relations for North America, said: "I am no longer 10, but until Thursday, I thought we would find a solution and that you would get over the illness: a serum, some medicine, a lover or a magical knit."

And she recalled how her grandmother would look for inspiration.

She said: "You would ask me how girls dress in New York. You always said that to find inspiration you liked to observe girls in the streets, the ones who don't care about being trendy. You looked at their walk, their legs, whether they had a book in their hand or seemed to be in love. You weren't interested in perfection. You preferred that they had a certain something, a mix of sense of humour, insolence and grace."

In 2012, Sonia - who was awarded The Order of Légion d'Honneur for her 40-year span at the helm of the fashion industry in 2009 - revealed she had been diagnosed with neurological condition Parkinson's disease 15 years previously.

Despite suffering with the disease for almost two decades, Sonia still remained as the honorary president of the company, although she was forced to stop designing luxury garments and highly popular clothing lines for the brand.

Sonia had previously kept her condition private from her peers and her fans but opened up about her diagnosis in a book when she couldn't conceal it any longer.