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Nurit Perla sells chic and funky fashion from her home

Nurit Perla, (centre), pictured with friends wearing Talia Designs...

Nurit Perla greets me at the front door with a smile and a hug even though she's in count down mode to the launch Friday night of her fall collection of Talia Design.  Nurit is the inspired force behind Talia Design; designing and sewing each item in the collection and attending to each button-hole detail with funky, loving precision.

She leads me down the hall and into her creative workspace.  This is where the magic happens.  Along one long wall and pushing out into the hall are racks, now full of clothes, ready for Friday’s fashion show.  Although I do my best to concentrate on what Nurit is saying, my eyes are pulled to those racks of clothes, my hands longing to reach out and touch and sort and explore. 

Against the opposite wall is where the work happens.  A long table for laying out and cutting the fabric takes up much of the space, followed by a sewing machine, a serger sewing machine, and lastly a large ironing board, iron and steamer.  Adorning almost every surface are pieces of different coloured thread, snipped and left where they lay, creating a mosaic memory of Nurit’s designs.

The large mirror hangs on the far wall and standing in the corner on a dress-makers’ dummy is the most delicious black fitted coat.  Nurit is still talking and I'm wanting more and more to abandon the interview and get to the clothes, so when she suggests we might be more comfortable in her living room I quickly agree. I love talking with Nurit, but the allure of her fall collection is just too overwhelming.

Patrick O'Neill photo

I grew up with a mother who sewed many of our clothes and my two sisters and I were given the pick of the leftover fabric scraps and free use of our grandmother’s old Singer treadle sewing machine.  Without the allure of the internet, video games or even much in the way of television viewing, I spent many hours occasionally pinching my toes beneath the treadle while happily creating numerous pencil case holders and clothes for my dolls and barbies.

Growing up sewing and playing with fabrics and patterns and altering them to fit my vision perhaps gives me an even greater appreciation and love for what Nurit does.  I love of fabric and know the work it takes to tailor clothes to fit well.  I also know how careful one has to be when picking and placing fabric.  I sewed my first real, follow-a-pattern piece of clothing when I was eleven years old.  It was a peasant blouse made out of puke gold polyester fabric.  Polyester and peasant blouses do not go well together.


Like me, Nurit grew up sewing.  She grew up on a kibbutz in Israel, the youngest in a family of three girls and one boy.  Nurit was introduced to the world of fabric, design and sewing through her mother. 

“My mother was a seamstress so I grew up between fabrics and scraps," she tells me.

Unlike me, Nurit has never made the mistake of marrying gold polyester with a peasant blouse.  Instead she struggled against the conformity of kibbutz living and was forever altering whatever clothing she was given, trying to give it her stamp of individuality.  “I was always wanting my own way, to wear my own stuff and always changed what I got from the kibbutz.”

At twenty years of age, after the required two years of military service, Nurit left “as soon as I could.”   While kibbutz living “seems so ideal to people, it’s very pressured if you are a little bit different.”

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