Rykiel, 81, writes in N'oubliez pas que je joue (Don't Forget It's a Game) that she decided to open up about her disease because she can no longer hide the symptoms, which include trembling. She also notes that her colleagues didn't allow her to be photographed with the cane she's been using for several years.
"I don't want to show my pain," Rykiel writes. "I resisted, I hesitated, I tried to be invisible, to pretend that nothing was wrong. It's impossible, it's not like me."
In the book, cowritten with French journalist Judith Perrignon, Rykiel refers to the disease in code as "P de P" — "Putain de Parkinson," or "bitch of Parkinson's" in English.
Rykiel started designing her own clothing in 1962 because she couldn't find maternity sweaters soft enough for her liking. In 1967, one of her sweaters landed on the cover of Elle and Rykiel was dubbed Queen of Knits. Rykiel's daughter Nathalie took over as creative director of her mother's brand in 1995. Despite her disease and her decreased involvement with the brand, Rykiel was well enough to attend the Fall 2012 show last month.