It's a story that ends badly for a French fashion house.
Thursday, July 25th, the spell was cast.
SONIA RYKEL, a ready-to-wear brand, is permanently closing its doors.
This liquidation will result in the closure of all remaining active points of sale, resulting in the dismissal of 131 people.
Since the death of its eponymous founder in 2016, SONIA RYKIEL had difficulty finding financing and had been placed in receivership since April 2019. Several recovery solutions had been proposed, from France but also from abroad, but only two, considered as "serious", had been selected.
One of the two takeover offers was an offer from the former BALMAIN brand manager, Emmanuel Diemoz, a veteran of the fashion world. The other proposal was a proposal, according to the French press, "of a large Parisian family" whose name was not revealed but which was not known in the fashion world.
The liquidation of SONIA RYKIEL is also a sign of the failure of the Chinese investment fund, FIRST HERITAGE BRANDS.
In 2012, founder Sonia Rykiel, who still owned one of the last independent fashion houses in France, but who was already experiencing cash flow problems, decided to sell about 80% of her capital to a Chinese investment fund: FUNG BRANDS.
Investment fund that will become FIRST HERITAGE, a holding company belonging to the Fung family of Hong Kong, is managed by the Frenchman Jean-Marc Loubier.
This fund, which also owns the Belgian luxury leather goods brand Delvaux, increased its stake to 100% at the beginning of 2016.
Since the participation of this holding company, almost 200 million euros have been invested in the Sonia Rykiel brand by its shareholders over seven years.
The owners sought to revive the business by capitalizing on her identity, embodied by founder Sonia Rykiel, nicknamed "The Queen of Knitting".
The idea: to reposition the brand in a high-end vision, to reach a younger clientele, to progress in Asian markets and also, from a creative point of view, to bring up to date the Rykiel "style", a blend of colourful stripes, tight-fitting sweaters and bold freedom specific to the company founded in May 1968.
Unfortunately, it is a financial abyss that the holding company could no longer support.
The brand's premium repositioning did not bear fruit and the company decided to part with its artistic director Julie de Libran in March 219. Recruited in 2014, it had taken the collections to its top-of-the-range positioning.
In January 2019, the holding company is looking for a new buyer to take over the brand.
The rest, you know it.
The substance of this article leads to a reflection on the difficulty of maintaining a certain independence in the fashion world. And mainly on luxury fashion.
Almost all the major fashion houses today are owned by large conglomerates and benefit from exceptional financial resources.
It also raises the need for creation, which must be almost inexhaustible for fashion houses. Inspire fashion, be part of the movement and not suffer it.
(Update): New developments in this case have just come to light. To find out more, we've created a new article, right here.