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Francois Steiner's Short Stint Ends at Sonia Rykiel

Francois Steiner’s romance with Sonia Rykiel has proved short-lived, WWD has learned.

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PARIS — François Steiner’s romance with Sonia Rykiel has proved short-lived, WWD has learned.

Steiner, who was hired in December as managing director of the family-owned house here, has parted ways with Rykiel after he clashed over strategy with Nathalie Rykiel, the house’s creative director and president.

“It just didn’t work,” said a spokesman for Rykiel, who added that it has yet to be determined how Steiner will be replaced.

Steiner, a former president of Kenzo who also held management jobs at Louis Vuitton and Thomas Pink, joined Rykiel to craft a coherent strategy for the house as it moves to expand beyond France.

Steiner was hired after Nathalie Rykiel last year divorced her husband, Simon Burstein, who had doubled as house president. (Burstein’s family runs the Browns fashion stores in London.)

This year, Rykiel, with annual sales of some 100 million euros, or about $158 million at current exchange, is celebrating its 40 year of existence. A retrospective exhibit of Rykiel’s styles is planned for October in Paris.