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How A Shirt Changed My Life

I put on my Talia designs flowered top, over my Talia designs checkered blue shift, over a pair of cropped jeans, and I hop on my bike.

I head out for the seawall and as I speed past people, they look at me and smile. At first I wonder what they’re smiling at. I get to Granville Island and order a cup of coffee. At the sandwich counter, a blond woman flashes me a lipsticky smile and says: “I love your shirt. It’s so pretty.” I notice that the Italian shop owner, who I’ve always found exceptionally attractive back there pulling out the lattes, is smiling a me as well. So is the gal behind the cashier.

I have to admit it. I look kind of great. I look funky, stylish and, dare I say it---pretty. I look interesting. Unusual, in an appealing way. What’s she got, they are all wondering. And I know the answer: I’ve got Talia.

Come with me now down Victoria, turn onto left onto Southeast Marine Drive. When you get to Dufff Street, take a right. Pull up in front of the condo development at 8441 Duff on the right hand side. Take a narrow path past the first building and enter the garden of Nurit Perla, who helped to make me the woman I now am.

Knock on the door and Nurit, an Israeli-transplant who moved with her family to Canada in 2003 from Zichron Jacob, opens it. Nurit, 44, is dressed in one of her creations, possibly the loose fitting pants cut from a crisp cotton fabric with a blouse made of something she snagged on her last trip to Jerusalem.

“Come in,” she says, ushering you back to her studio, a narrow room with racks of her pants, blouses, dresses, sweaters and jackets.

I’ve lived in Paris, Manhattan and on Cortes Island, and girlfriends, I can tell you, you won’t find anything like Nurit’s designs anywhere else but here in her studio, where a half-finished skirt lies atop her sewing machine, and piles of fabric are pushed into corners, and a big mirror waits for you to check out how great you are going to look when you step into her stuff.

Nurit was a name in Israeli fashion, but when she moved to Canada, she had to start over. And she started over by popular demand.

Her design movement sprouted from the grassroots of check out lines in grocery stores where women turned to her and said, “Where did you get that fabulous dress,” and Nurit would smile and say, “I made it,” and the admirer would say, “Can you make one for me?,” Nurit relayed to me the day I got my outfits. This happened over and over, she said, until she had a business established in Vancouver, by appointment only.

Her love of colours and body-friendly designs that feel good to wear gain inspiration from the desert. Even on a rainy Vancouver day, slip into one of her garments and you feel sun-drenched, as you break out of the dreary blacks and grays we have grown accustomed to sporting, those of us who imagine ourselves fashionable and sophisticated, that is.

“You look so adorable. Oh, my God that is so cute,” a very funky yoga teacher told me last week, at my son’s school, reaching out to touch the crimson blouse I wore over my matching Talia designs shift.

Yesterday, I went to meet a writer for coffee. “Wow,” she said, “You look fantastic.” You know what I was wearing...and if you haven't guessed yet, that's Talia. T-A-L-I-A. And that's how Talia designs changed my life.  It could change yours, too.

Photo above by Linda Solomon of Flowered Shirt, a creation of Talia designs.

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