The Aesthete: Julie de Libran talks personal taste

As artistic director of Sonia Rykiel, Julie de Libran has brought a modern energy, hippy-luxe style and confident sensuality to the 50-year-old brand

Julie de Libran at home in Paris
Julie de Libran at home in Paris | Image: Edouard Jacquinet

My personal style signifier is a man’s jacket. If I am not actually wearing one, I’ll have one around my shoulders. I’ve worn them since the early 1990s when I was in fashion school and borrowed them from my boyfriend. I like the broad shoulder, and the fact that it feels like a uniform. 

Fabrizio Viti suede shoes, £979
Fabrizio Viti suede shoes, £979 | Image: Edouard Jacquinet

The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe were workout pieces from LA brand Alo Yoga. They are so flattering, and brilliantly cut for comfort and functionality, and the jersey they use is extremely soft. I’m also very attached to a pair of green suede block-heeled shoes by Fabrizio Viti. I fell in love with them when I was in LA to host a dinner and wore them with a knitted top, skirt and evening bag that all have the same “cage” design. Workout bottoms, from £35; £979;


The accessory I’m eyeing next is a pair of olive and black striped appliqué-leather ankle boots from our pre-fall 2018 collection. They have a tiny kitten heel so they are great when you need to be active all day. I will wear them with a black leather miniskirt and black cashmere knit. £450;

Selected furniture at the Nilufar Depot in Milan
Selected furniture at the Nilufar Depot in Milan

A recent “find” is Nilufar Depot in Milan. Nina Yashar, who I’ve known for a long time, opened this huge space with the most amazing collection of art and 1950s design from names such as Giò Ponti. It’s extremely well curated, and she also works with designers to create new furniture. I bought some modular bookshelves by the Italian architect Massimiliano Locatelli. Bookshelves, €13,200; Viale Vincenzo Lancetti 34, 20158 Milan (

De Libran’s Hermès vegetal-leather agenda
De Libran’s Hermès vegetal-leather agenda | Image: Edouard Jacquinet

The best gift I’ve given recently was a “charcoal coffee” that I found in America, which I’ve given to some friends. It’s very healthy, and the flavour changes depending on whether you have it with water or with oat milk. I’ve stopped drinking real coffee and I feel much better. £24;

Her Sylvie Corbelin tortoiseshell, claw and tooth necklace
Her Sylvie Corbelin tortoiseshell, claw and tooth necklace | Image: Edouard Jacquinet

And the best one I’ve received recently is a 1970s floral mousseline dress from Yves Saint Laurent that my grandmother gave to me. I remember her wearing it when I was a child. I love vintage, but having something that also has a personal memory makes it even more beautiful.


The accessory I would never part with is a vegetal-leather agenda. I bought it from Hermès when I was 30, and I couldn’t live without it. The leather ages beautifully. I have to write everything down or I forget it – it’s therapy for me.

The item I will keep to pass on is a Sylvie Corbelin necklace I bought when I was pregnant. I have told my son I will give it to him when he’s older. It’s made from antique elements – a tooth, a claw and a tortoiseshell chain; it looks quite sauvage. From €5,000; Marché Paul Bert, 110 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen ( 

The people I rely on for personal wellbeing are Dominique Pianel, my osteopath – he’s a magician; and my trainer Justin Galvez, because if I am not training I can’t have chocolate. It’s quite intense and he gets me doing all the things I hate, like squats and push-ups. Dominique Pianel, 116 Blvd Raspail, 75006 Paris (+331-4514 6637). Justin Galvez,

If I didn’t live in Paris, I would live in Tokyo. I love the culture and the aesthetic – the mix between antique style and the very modern and futuristic. Everything from the trees and flowers to the desserts is so cheery. The Aman is extraordinary – even just the view from the pool. Daikanyama T is an amazing bookstore and coffee shop that has a brilliant selection of Japanese magazines. I also love shopping for vintage clothes in Tokyo, and Laila Vintage is one of my favourites. Last time I was there I found all these French designs from the 1960s and earlier that were reworked in Japan. Aman, Otemachi Tower, 1-5-6 Otemachi, Chiyoda ( Daikanyama T, 17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya ( Laila Vintage, 5-46-2 Jingumae, Shibuya (

My favourite app is Instagram: it’s addictive. My family is abroad, so my brother signed me up. I look at it in the morning or last thing at night and I love that I can see what everyone is doing.

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