Julie de Libran
Julie de Libran
Born and raised in France, she spent her teenage years in America. The offspring of two entrepreneurs disciplines, her upbringing was liberal, cultured and cosmopolitan. Style and fashion ran in her blood. Her mother, a confident active role model, dressed in long skirts and mohair jumpers by Sonia Rykiel.
When the family moved to California at the start of the 80’s, Julie de Libran adopted the jeans and t-shirts that were the uniform of this enfranchised generation. Asked what clothes she remembers buying, she answers, ‘I made them’. At the tender age of fifteen she designed a dress for her first high school prom dress. ‘I loved the casual style of the Americans, but I missed the elegance of the French’.
Fast-tracked into a fashion apprenticeship, in 1990 at the Marangoni Institute. She made her first steps towards her future career a year later with Gianfranco Ferré in Milan. In 1993 she returned to Paris, alternating classes at the Central Syndicate of Couture with a role shadowing Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. She returned to Italy in 1996, to work for Versace. To Prada in 1998, where she spent ten stimulating years between Paris and Milan. In 2008, Julie de Libran took charge of womenswear at Louis Vuitton alongside Marc Jacobs, occupying the role until 2014 th year of velvet revolution for Julie de Libran. : an invitation to take the artistic direction of the house of Sonia Rykiel.
From a small Saint Germain address, established in May of 1968, to a glorious family business passed from mother to daughter, the Sonia Rykiel maison was now celebrated the world over. Sonia Rykiel championed an ultra-feminine, feminist, cultured and even gourmet engagement with the world. Both provocative and passionate, creating a Parisian patrimony and elevating the brand’s eponymous protagonist to the status of veritable French icon. In 2012, having sold the maison to First Heritage Brands, Sonia Rykiel’s future was written in the stars.
Julie de Libran’s first Rykiel defilé in September 2014 held in the boutique was an emotional moment for Julie who welcomed her guests herself at the entrance to 175, Boulevard Saint-Germain. She invited the waiters from Café Flore served the drinks and refreshments. It was both a continuation and a hommage: instead of turning the tables, she put new tablecloths on them. The same could be said of her red carpet connections: Julie de Libran retained the close relationships she had had with celebrities of the calibre of Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst, Sienna Miller and Julianne Moore, all of whom followed her on her Rykiel adventure.
Julie de Libran discovered manifold points of convergence between herself and Sonia Rykiel. A woman who set about making her own clothes when she could not find what she wanted to wear. A woman crazy about knitwear who connected with women all over the world. A woman who wrote to express her most innermost thoughts. A woman descended from a large family. A woman who loved dark chocolate. A woman who befriended artists. ‘It has occurred to me that, all alone in a maison founded all alone by one woman, I feel utterly at ease’.
Sonia Rykiel had invented unorthodox fashion and visible craftsmanship. Julie de Libran, invented the lisible wardrobe, influenced by design, as well as modern and contemporary art. Her mission, collection after collection, is to invent a new fashion vocabulary articulated through clothing and accessories, to reinvent the meaning of style and to send tradition flying, all without betraying the heritage bestowed on her.
It is a challenge that she has accepted with great enthusiasm. Starting with the Parisian archives at the Italian knit workshop and in the atelier at 175, Julie de Libran dived into this extraordinary universe, pushing still further innovation, delighting in the talent, methodology, and expertise she found therein.
With a touch of provocation: her tailoring talent, her recognition of a new desire for sport chic, for daily denim, a full embrace of knits and colour, a daring which is very Rykiel, have invented a character both democratic and determined: the Rykiel woman, entirely rive gauche, entirely parisian, ready for an international future.
Following in the elegant footsteps of a remarkable woman surrounded herself with remarkable women and addressed herself to remarkable women, the maison Rykiel has evolved into a natural and permanent hommage to Sonia Rykiel in Paris, all the while freeing itself from this long and rich history by joining forces with a new personality, just as strong, self-assured, independent and ready for the future. And beyond.
The future is now. At the end of 2017 Jean-Marc Loubier offered Julie de Libran the opportunity to share in a part of the action by becoming a member of the Administrative Board at Sonia Rykiel. This in recognition of her dedication and hard work, supported by a confidence in her skills as a leader and strategist and capacity to develop the maison. A new chapter has begun.