Fashion executive

Passing Date: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Sônia Bogner, the Brazilian-born model-turned-designer who helped her husband Willy Bogner modernize the family ski-fashion business, died May 3, 2017, in Munich after a long illness. She was 66 years old.
Born in Rio de Janeiro as Sônia Ribeiro, she left Brazil after earning her high school diploma at the age of 19 to join her sister, the actress Florinda Bolkan, in Rome. She studied English in Cambridge from 1971 to 1972, and then—fluent in five languages—worked as a sales apprentice and model at the Rome fashion house Valentino. There she was recruited by Maria Bogner as a model for the Bogner Sport catalog, shot by photographer Willy Bogner, Jr. Within five months they were married.
Sônia became Maria Bogner’s design assistant and worked with her husband to launch Bogner of America. Following Willy Sr.’s death in 1977, the couple began expanding the business into new categories, including free-standing retail stores. In 1979 Sônia succeeded Maria as design director for the company’s women’s collections, and in 1992 launched her own sportswear label. The second-generation Bogners expanded distribution to about 35 countries, with 800 employees worldwide, and estimated annual sales over of $300 million. 

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