Renowned clothing designer, veteran lawyer honored as they move from Barrington
Renowned fashionista Dyllis Braithwaite and her husband, longtime municipal attorney William, were honored by Barrington leaders this week as they prepare to depart their hometown of 56 years to live with their son in another suburb.
Over the years, the couple became known for their deep involvement with Barrington United Methodist Church and charitable organizations including Family Service of the Barrington Area. The Braithwaites were active in the rebuilding of the church in Barrington Hills after its historic sanctuary and landmark steeple on Hough Street burned down in a 1998 fire.
Trustee Jennifer Wondrasek was among the village board members who expressed appreciation for the Braithwaites' contributions to Barrington. The village board this week passed a resolution officially honoring the couple.
"I want to personally thank Bill and Dyllis for making Barrington what it is today and just being our foundation and pillars of our community for so many years," Wondrasek said.
From fur coats to sundresses, 92-year-old Dyllis Braithwaite wore the clothing she sewed while operating her Barrington fine fabrics business. She also wrote books such as "Oh! I Love What You're Wearing, Volume II" in 2015.
Citing health reasons, the woman known for creating wearable art closed Finn's Fabrics by Dyllis after a 40-year run in 2008. "The Material Girl" said it was a privilege to operate the business in Barrington and she enjoyed the compliments she received, sometimes at a grocery store or church, while wearing her creations around town.
"And I can still wear my things," she said Monday while donning one of her typically stylish outfits. "I've kept my weight at my college level. I work hard at it. And we also eat very healthy, too. I have a big vegetable garden at Beese Park. You can rent space."
Her wearable art will be a featured exhibit next year at Fine Line Arts Center in St. Charles. At least 100 Dyllis Braithwaite-designed garments will be on display starting with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 15 through March 21.
William Braithwaite, who will celebrate his 91st birthday Saturday and has been a licensed attorney in Illinois since 1956, still practices law. He represented several suburbs over his career and was North Barrington's longtime village attorney until stepping aside from that post last year.
He was the lawyer who filed incorporation papers for the villages of South Barrington, Tower Lakes and North Barrington. His volunteer work included the Barrington Area Council on Aging and the Barrington Area Development Council, a philanthropic nonprofit.
William Braithwaite, who intends to visit Barrington often with his wife, said he's impressed how the downtown has turned around. He said a big crowd downtown for this year's Fourth of July parade was a credit to village leaders.
"There are so many people in the village and in the community who have worked to keep this community the way it is," he said.