I had the pleasure to meet up with Claudia Barilà, discuss her favorite vanities and play & explore in her closet like two 12 year olds would do.
No longer associated with Barilà, Claudia, Guy Laliberté’s spouse, is currently on a sabbatical. A very busy sabbatical, as her cell phone relentlessly reminded her: a fashion shoot here, some luggage to pack now.
Refreshing, admiringly super easy-going, frank, real, are words that would describe this lady. She is positively charming. Greeting me, barefoot, makeup-free, asking right away where I’m from, and several other personal questions. Surprising, also. “I never shop at Holt’s”, “I like dresses that don’t look too classic, and dislike dresses that are both too short & too tight” adding later the infamous “I hate shopping”. A free spirit: “I bought my fave purse at a market in Ibiza- it doesn’t even have a tag on it”. Did I say refreshing?
Before venturing into her Ali Baba’s cave, Claudia Barilà revealed her shameless, favorite vanities to me:
Favorite Artist(s): Ivan Navarro, Vik Muniz, Dominic Besner
Magazines: Maison Côté Ouest , Jalouse, Numéro, Vogue UK. The most interesting fashion magazine right now in Montreal? Dress to Kill.
Flowers: Daisies, tulips, orchids, magnolia
Beverage: almond milk, David’s Tea, vodka-martini
Snack: lychee, nuts
Dessert: strawberry shortcake
Favorite ingredient: cilantro
Holiday destination: Bali and Indonesia in general. Costa Rica is also a favorite destination…
Charity: ONE DROP – “as water is intertwined with hunger, agriculture, everything. It’s fundamental”
Boutiques: L’Éclaireur (Paris), Reborn (Montreal), Alchimist (Miami), Webster (Miami). best Montreal newcomer? TNT “It was about time as there’s not anything really exciting here except for our local designers”.
Revolutionary beauty product: Aqua Folia Green Tea toner & cleanser
Perfume: the discontinued Narciso Rodriguez for her Musk Oil Extract, Eau Blanche by IUNX (Sold exclusively at Hotel Coste), and the discontinued Vapeur de Riz by Kenzo. She’s a bit out of luck, it seems!
Jeans: not much of a jean aficionado, she buys them at Urban Outfitters.
Lingerie: Etam, La Perla
Day footwear: Converse
Evening footwear: Proenza Schouler. Manolos are the “comfiest”.
Evening wear: Cavalli, Barilà
Day bag: a crocodile purse bought in a market in Ibiza.
Evening bag: a clutch. These days her pick is a shiny metallic Salvatore Ferragamo clutch.
Accessory: a scarf, earrings by Sharon Alouf
A favorite designer: Roberto Cavalli, Denis Gagnon.
Clothes reveal someone’s true personality. Here I am, exploring a high society fashionista’s closet. Everywhere I looked for glitziness, feathers and furs, I stumbled upon clothes that mirrored her very personal taste & individuality, singular elegance and a love of raw materials instead of rather common mainstream brands. Let’s just say, Claudia is not Kim Kardashian and that is a heart felt compliment. Claudia stays away from anything too hip (note: too common) and remains herself at all times. She does not buy into current trends. She doesn’t own a ton of Hermès Kelly bags, she doesn’t don Hervé Léger skintight dresses at events and she is na-tu-ral. Her laidback personality truly shines at all times. Even when mingling with the high society. Especially when mingling with the high society.
A look at her adorable “closet”:
A true fashion lover, she doesn’t discard anything.
Some of her jewelry
Love the mirror
A very special piece, custom-made, adorned with grey diamonds.
The ring was created by the wife of one of The Eagles’ members. “I paid with it with my own money, I even picked the grey diamonds because they were slightly less expensive”. A woman who appreciates a ring for what it is and what it looks like instead of how many carats sit on it. Blatantly disarming.
If your favorite pair of Converse is sold out, now you know why.
One would think that Claudia would own all the Manholos, Louboutins, Jimmy Choos. Nada. This wild cat is is the epitome of coolness, and she couldn’t care less about it.
Claudia and her fave earrings by Sharon Alouf. (She has 5 piercings total).
Love, Love, Love and Love!!!! A true treasure chest given by her sweetheart, Guy Laliberté.
The apotheosis of cool. Expecting Louis Vuitton or Goyard luggage, I was greeted by this extraordinary tasteful, über decontracted, timeless vintage piece of luggage. That’s when it all came together!
If you can judge a book by it’s cover then you can read between the lines: this is a story so surprising, a novel you’d never imagined.
A luxurious, heady perfume. Absolutely stunning.
A skin care line created by a doctor. Her must-have products by Aqua Folia.
I asked if her fave products were by Crème de la Mer, or La Prairie? I should have known better. Claudia doesn’t like the packaging or the marketing or a brand: she likes to feel the product work on her skin, tingling, coming into action.
Her shoes of the moment, à son image. Fuego!!!
She will undoubtedly set the night on fire with those Proenza Schouler heels.
With her fave item of clothing ever: a Cavalli gown.
“I like long, flowy dresses, I’m always drawn to them”, Claudia says.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s not everyday that I meet a female who’d rather wear a floor length, soft dress instead of a tiny skin tight number. I’ve always had a thing for flowy dresses as they look dramatically elegant, sexy without ever looking raunchy, they look summery, breezy, muy caliente St-Tropez-ish (instead of L.A.-ish). This alone is very revelatory of her personality. I’ve seen Claudia Barilà dressed with floor length gowns and she was strikingly beautiful, she commanded the room just by her presence.
An adorable vintage Jill Sanders dress. This dress screams all business on top and party… ahem. Anyways.
A Denis Gagnon chain dress which she will wear to the Michael Jackson’s show premiere. The dress weights more than Claudia does, you heard it here first. Spectacular. “I’m either into hippie or rock ‘n roll clothes”, she claims.
Her it bag of the moment: a Salvatore Ferragamo metallic clutch.
Gorgeous Balenciaga sandals.
Another vintage piece from Paris.
J’ADORE! Massive pieces for our eyes. Truly dashing fur coats.
Claudia exclusively wears Canadian fur.
Posing with a spectacular fur wrap around “lent” to her from a Michael Kors runway show. “I wear it to keep warm only, whenever we go North, it really does keep me warm’. Forget the paraître, with Claudia it’s all about practicability.
An absolutely beyond sublime summer dress de rigueur for Ibiza. White, loose, light, feminine. I really fell for that little number.
Playful attire! looks modern and retro at the same time…
This sight got my whole Hat-tention!
A pleathora of scarves, probably the only accessory she’d bring on a desert island. Without a cliché Hermès carré on sight.
The lovely Claudia Barilà & myself in Denis Gagnon.
An example of simplicity and exquisite integrity, Claudia Barilà is miles away from anything superficial. Today, I met a woman, a mother, an international jet-setter. Today I met the most humble and graceful human being.
Extremely wealthy and famous yet uncomplicated & sophisticated, and being a woman who favors authentic values is a rare commodity which I have been most fortunate to witness.
A true tell-tale lesson.