Barilà tackles the T-shirt and gets it runway-ready

Photo by Navneet Pall

For the girl who doesn’t have two hours to dedicate to getting dressed in the morning, let alone brew herself a latte, Montreal-based designer Sabrina Barilà has reinvented the T-shirt in a feminine, versatile way for her Spring 2012 show at Bonsecours Market for Montreal Fashion Week.
Barilà, with her model sister Claudia, kicked off their brand in 2007 cognizant of materializing their motto into their fashion lines: “Live the life you love.” What sets this line apart from others is its sheer wearability—its freedom in the flowy fabrics that let you live, and simultaneously love.
“Barilà loved one of her pyjama T-shirts so much that she decided to create many different versions of it so that other people can benefit from its comfort,” explained Barilà’s stylist, Cary Tauben, who also works for the Montreal modeling agency Folio.
“You can see from her new line that she took a traditional shape and made it perfect daywear for the working woman.”
With earthy beiges, dusty roses, pinstripes, jewel burgundies, baby blues and delicate florals, Barilà managed to interpret a classic T-shirt shape in a myriad of ways that all radiate the same image: relaxed. The cinched waist featured in every piece also reminds us that they’re made for real women with real bodies that have real nooks and crannies.
“Everything is very comfortable but also stylish. It’s clothes for busy women who want to look good when they go out during the day,” Tauben said.
The line at first glance is modest. And then you notice that a high-neckline collared dress is completely shoulderless, and wonder what kind of tan that would produce. Then you decide not to care because the fabrics are so breathable and feminine that you want to jump right in them and stop with the questions.
Barilà’s vintage, nostalgic, and ‘70s-reminiscent pieces bring out the girl in the woman, and the woman in the girl. Their dainty flower-printed mid-calf socks take you back to your days in the schoolyard before you scraped your knees playing hopscotch. The same outfit fast-forwards a couple years, featuring the effortless pairing of mature flared dresses and architecturally-advanced beige purses that would fit right in either at a conference room or a brunch table. A cool way to transcend time in one outfit.
“The floral patterns and denims are repeated through different pieces,” Tauben said. “But that’s just Barilà being playful with shape.”
Oddly enough, these repeated fabrics don’t feel redundant. They become invigorated by chunky caramel pumps, arms of gold bangles, parallelogram-trapezoid shaped tote bags, and menacing pairs of ‘80s-inspired roundish wayfarer shades.
Barilà’s new spring collection makes it difficult to pick a favourite piece, because they all comprise the essentials of a strong, fashion-forward woman. From the baby blue flared trouser tunic, to the deep aubergine maxi dress that made me have feelings for a piece of clothing, Barilà’s creations make, as Tauben would say, “feminine meet edgy.”
And it all started out with a pyjama T-shirt.


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