THE GENEROUS SWEATERS PROJECT
« Generous Sweaters » is all about engagement. A unique project, a common desire embedded in Sonia Rykiel’s DNA and the best way to celebrate the Houses 50th anniversary by putting forward « the creation of fashion for women by women ».
Kirsten Dunst, Sofia Boutella and Kristin Scott Thomas, architect Kazuyo Sejima, model and activist Liya Kebede, influencer and artist Langley Fox and artistic director of the national Korean Ballet Sue-Jin Kang. A group of remarkable women brought together by Julie de Libran around the Generous Sweaters project to support charities close to their heart.
KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS for HOPE AND HOMES FOR CHILDREN
English by birth yet french by heart, Kristin Scott Thomas nourishes with the Rykiel House a strong connection.
According to Julie de Libran, who dressed her for special occasions, she is « the absolute incarnation of the Saint-Germain des Près woman ».
« I lived on the rue Saint-Benoit, a few yard from the Maison. She was the heart of Saint-Germain in those days ».
For her sweater, Kristin has been inspired by something boyish yet feminine, which connects her to her family Royal Navy’s past. The traditional marinière was given added glamour with the inclusion of cashmere and lurex yarns, its seamless collar closing with vintage Sonia Rykiel buttons.
This collaboration is the occasion to support a cause very close to her heart : « Hope and Homes (…) has a clear and achievable aim : to take a child from an institution and place that child in a family home with caring adults and siblings. »
JULIE DE LIBRAN for LA MAISON DES FEMMES
For Julie de Libran, artistic director of Sonia Rykiel since 2014 supporting « La maison des femmes » was an obvious choice. Established in Saint-Denis (France) and opened since 2016 this establishment is opened to all women who have experienced any type of violence regardless of age, nationality or situation.
« Thanks to hard work and supportive family, I have the chance to live my dream job in a legendary brand created by a free spirit and independant woman. I have realized the importance of women’s status in the evolution of the public consciousness. »
Julie de Libran has created a « wardrobe » of her three little black sweaters, each for a different moment of the day, from a cosy light wool crepe ribbed design to a sheer, luxurious vicuna version for the evening. Definitely parisian and in the Rykiel spirit, they are above all, very personal : « I wear a lot of black so this was the perfect opportunity to create something more personal ».
LANGLEY FOX for THE REFUGE
Langley Fox, american model and illustrator, who is also the great grand-daughter of Ernest Hemingway, had already a strong link with the Rykiel House before this collaboration : she has been the muse of Sonia By multiple times.
The artist brings her support to the « Refuge » fondation, in relation with her private life, but mainly because « it brings a home and support to young people victim of transphobia or homophobia. I am myself in a gay relationship and I can’t imagine how it would feel to have my family punish me for that ».
The stripes on her sweater express her support to the LGBT community. Her creation is « a fun pop of colour ». Created in a mixture of wool and cashmere striped, this sweater is inspired from her obsession for the cosy sweaters, mainly her father’s ones. The « comfort that you feel when your are with your family, something nothing else can beat ».
KIRSTEN DUNST for PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Kirsten Dunst, american actress and good friend of Julie de Libran, decided to support the « Planned Parenthood », fondation based in the United States, which offers care and medical or contraceptive advice.
For her, « every woman in the United States and elsewhere has the right to access correct medical care and contraception to ensure that she is in charge of her own destiny ».
Looking back to her Swedish origins, she chose to reinterpret the traditional scandinavian sweater by incorporating a poppy design and using different qualities of yarn to create contrasting textures. In conclusion, this sweater is elegant and generous, representing perfectly Kirsten’s personality.
KAZUYO SEJIMA for OKAERI-GOHAN SHOKUDO
Kazuyo Sejima, japanese architect who won the Pritzger Prize, has been discovered by Julie de Libran during the 2010 Biennale of Venice.
The architect supports « Okaeri-Gohan Shokudo » ( or « welcome home canteen » ), which provides both free meals and a support for single and working mothers in Hitachi city.
« I have always admired the Kodomo Shokudo charities ( a nationwide movement which provides free or reduced-price meals ) and I wanted to support one in my local area ».
Her concept proposes three dresses inspired by the Japanese ancestral technique of Junihitoe, or layering of kimonos, created by the historic Italian manufacture in an airy, technical knit of the House Rykiel. « We can wear the final version the way you want to wear it – I guess it signifies a kind of freedom ». A dress that Sonia Rykiel herself would probably approve.
SUE-JIN KANG for THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF SEOUL INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Sue-Jin Kang, after an international career as a ballerina, returned to her native South Korea to become the actual artistic director of the Korean National Ballet. She had never met Julie before this project, but succeeded to convince her thanks to her « elegance, poise and international vision ».
Sue-Jin has decided to support « The Children’s Hospital of Seoul International University », as she wanted to bring some help to the sick children through an association in which she could trust.
« Sometimes I visit the hospital and see kids who are suffering. I hope that through this project I will be able to help. »
As a dancer and choreographer, she imagined a set of garments to warm and comfort a dancer’s body after reherseal. The crossover cardigan and ribbed pants, both featured in a multicolored jacquard to express the joy of dancing and life, are perfectly suited even to non-dancers who are seeking the perfect outfit to relax in style.
« The message of this sweater is hope. »
LIYA KEBEDE for LEMLEM FOUNDATION
Liya Kebede, model and actress, captures every occasion to honor and find solutions to African women’s problems.
So she didn’t hesitate to say yes to the « Generous Sweaters » project, which celebrates women and supports causes around the world.
Naturally, she decided to give the benefits of this collaboration to her own association that she has created 10 years ago : the « Lemlem Foundation » which supports the women in Africa.
« Today we have helped over 12000 women give birth safely and we are fighting poverty by training artisan women and connecting them to jobs ».
For her sweater design, Liya took inspiration from her favorite sweater she borrowed from her dad. The resulting oversized sweater features elements of a classic men’s shirt and lemlem handwoven fabrics.
« I wore a Rykiel sweater when I was dancing with Madonna, and I loved what it represented »
Sofia Boutella, french actress born in Algeria and now leaving in Los Angeles, met Julie de Libran during a dinner and they clicked immediately.
« I thought of her as soon as we began this project. » remembers Julie.
Thanks to the Generous Sweaters project, she created a series of two sweaters, that can be worn separately or together. The first one is an intricate, mutlicolored butterfly design using one of Sofia’s own illustrations, craffted in cotton yarn and created with a crochet effect finish. The second is a very fine knit printed with a kaleidoscope image that is based on Sofia herself, dancing naked. When worn together, the buttefly sweater creates a « rose window » through which the illustration can be glimpsed.