Sonia Rykiel’s Secret Struggle with Parkinson’s

Mimi ON Apr 25, 2012 AT 1:03 pm

French designer Sonia Rykiel

In a bout of sad news, French designer Sonia Rykiel has revealed her 15 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

The news of her secret struggle comes from her book “N’oubliez pas que je joue” (Don’t Forget It’s a Game), which was released in France yesterday. The book was co-written with French journalist Judith Perrignon and aims to shed light on Rykiel’s experience with the degenerative disease despite her long-held resistance.

Throughout the book, Rykiel refers to the disease as ‘P de P‘, or ‘Putain de Parkinson’, which translates as “bitch of Parkinson’s”. She also reveals that the staff at her fashion label wouldn’t let her be photographed with the cane she has been using for several years.

Rykiel writes, “I don’t want to show my pain. I resisted, I hesitated, I tried to be invisible, to pretend that nothing was wrong. It’s impossible, it’s not like me.”

WWD reports that Rykiel’s decision to reveal her condition spawns from no longer being able to conceal the disease’s symptoms like tremors.

Rykiel, 81, has been a fashion fixture since the ’60s. Her daughter Nathalie took over Rykiel’s eponymous label as creative director in 1995, though Rykiel continues to be present at every catwalk show.

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