In May of 1968, Sonia Rykiel opened a flagship boutique for her namesake label on the rue de Grenelle. Stocked with the late designer’s snug, knit maternity dresses—a sharp departure from the dowdy, tent-like styles available to expecting mothers of the day—her Left Bank boutique became a symbol of for-women, by-women design.
Last September, to coincide with the brand’s 50th anniversary, the style icon was honored with a street in the same neighborhood. Named Allée Sonia Rykiel, the passage tucked away in Paris’s 6th arrondissement was host to the house’s spring 2019 runway show last September, which guests watched from under colorful striped canopies.
To commemorate the unveiling, the brand’s current creative director, Julie de Libran, has transformed those PVC awnings into tote bags. Emblazoned with a hand-painted version of the alley’s plaque (and playfully dubbed “Allez Rykiel”), these roomy carryalls made with upcycled material are perfect for a stroll through La Rive Gauche. “I actually live with my family on Left Bank, close to Boulevard Raspail’s organic food market,” de Libran says from her Paris office. “It is such a happy coincidence that the street I go to every Sunday is named Allée Sonia Rykiel.” Just steps away from Mme. Rykiel’s favorite restaurant Café de Flore and the Hotel Lutetia which she redesigned in the 1980s, the area is synonymous with the maison’s history.
Hitting stores Wednesday, February 20—just months before the three-year anniversary of Mme. Rykiel’s passing—the tribute accessory encapsulates the legendary designer’s cheerful, independent spirit. The bags will be available at Barneys New York and Sonia Rykiel boutiques for $370.