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How Many Lives Can a Fashion Brand Have?


A little more than a year ago, the beloved French fashion house Sonia Rykiel — founded in 1968 by a flame-haired feminist to empower women, passed on to her daughter in 2007 and sold to Hong Kong investors in 2012 — went into liquidation. At the time, it appeared to be a sad denouement for the once-revolutionary ready-to-wear brand.

But now the house of Rykiel is about to rise again, under new owners. Or is it? Fashion history is littered with tales of newfangled entrepreneurs who have swooped in to save old brands, only to leave them in tatters. Will Rykiel be one of them, or the exception that proves the rule?

“The Sonia Rykiel brand is not damaged, it still has strong values,” said Michael Dayan, who, along with his brother Eric, made a fortune in outlet e-tailing and bought Rykiel late last year. The Dayans have big plans for the brand. A revamped women’s wear line. A men's wear line. A perfume. Perhaps even a boutique hotel.


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