The inimitable sound artist discusses the emotive installation he crafted in homage to the late designer, which preceded the house's S/S17 show
“I had worked with Julie [de Libran] previously on the score for her [Autumn/Winter 2016] show for Sonia Rykiel, which was great. She liked the outcome and asked me to work on a new project – an homage to Madame Sonia Rykiel after her passing, which was obviously very important. She asked me to do something with the sound of Sonia’s voice, but also with archive footage and imagery. I’ve done similar things before with imagery in the past, such as a show I curated about Serge Gainsbourg at Cité de la Musique in Paris.
I’ve always considered sound as images anyway, so the idea to radiate the sound of Sonia Rykiel in a more abstract way was very interesting to me. I have always thought of Sonia as a writer of fashion, creating her own story and language. I was able to go into the house’s archive and build a video of images (both still and moving) and sound. It was very emotional; I felt that I entered her headspace, in a way. I wanted to evoke a mood that was beautiful, simple and celebratory – but also in a way that each and every person could identify with. I also wanted to make the most beautiful tribute I could possibly make out of respect for the many people that worked for her for many years.
Sonia Rykiel – much like Rei Kawakubo, Miuccia Prada and Martine Sitbon – was a very strong and generous woman, and I’ve always been drawn to strong women. Julie [de Libran], too, has an incredible respect for the DNA of the brand and everything that Sonia Rykiel stood for. I met with her at the space before the show, and she was very moved. This was an important moment for everyone.” – Frédéric Sanchez
Though Sonia Rykiel departed this world last August, at the age of 86, her extraordinary influence and outlook will continue to permeate modern culture. The house, now under the highly capable steer of Julie de Libran, feted its founder's remarkable life and output with a resplendent Spring/Summer 2017 show – which proudly showcased Rykiel's iconic design signatures: finely woven striped knits in a kaleidoscope of colours; louche 1970s-inspired cuts that swing zealously with every moment; and sleek, contemporary iterations of her classic 'Poor Boy' sweater. The collection was accompanied by a custom-created score by Frédéric Sanchez, who additionally crafted an evocative video montage – or in his words: "a visual homage," – of archive photography, sound clips and candid footage of the late designer, to precede the show.