The Label: Desperate to find comfy, stylish clothes to wear during her pregnancy in the early sixties, Parisian Sonia Rykiel decided to make some of her own. In 1968, she opened her own boutique on the Left Bank from which she hawked her covetable knits. The American press dubbed her the Queen of Knits. From there, she proceeded to invert seams, de-line looks, and add other non-precious, fun effects to her clothes, winning her a following among the fashion-forward folks. The Designer: Born in Paris in 1930, Sonia Rykiel had no formal design training except window dressing when she was a teenager. But in 1985, the French government showed its appreciation by awarding her the Legion dHonneur. Today, her daughter Nathalie, who serves as the companys creative director, infuses much of her mothers cheekiness into the labelshe added sex toys to the retail offerings at their freestanding stores.