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Local designer Illyria’s dresses perfect for the holiday season

December 21st, 2011 · No Comments

By Karen Bliss

Illyria Design creations are elegant with a bit of an edge. Copyright Rhett Morita.

Working out of the studio in her Liberty-area home, Illyria Pestich of Illyria Design creates dresses that are classic enough to be worn year after year.

“It’s strictly a dress collection,” Pestich tells the Gleaner. “It’s always very classy, but sexy with a bit of edge. It’s definitely different than your regular dress, very chic and streamlined for a sophisticated fashion-forward bold woman.”

“I never follow what’s trendy at the time,” she says. “I try to create design lines that accent and highlight the best parts on a female form on every single dress so it’s very flattering.”

While next spring and summer looks have already been put to bed and she is working on fall 2012, Pestich is currently selling her fall/winter designs, which are perfect for the holidays. Her colour choices were mainly black, navy, plum and grey.

Courtesy Rhett Morita.

“This season, I mixed a lot of different fabrics all in one dress,” Pestich says. “I’ve got a few pieces that have a skirt done in suiting, waistband does in jacquard and then the blouse of the dress is chiffon. There are several dresses done in suiting accented in some chiffon or a modern trellis lace. There are also some jersey dresses with three-quarter-length sleeves and over-sized pockets and a funky edgy cut that you can definitely take from day to night.”

Pestich, who was born in London, Ontario, where she attended a high school for fashion arts, knew exactly what she wanted to do upon graduation. She moved to Toronto to study fashion technique and design at Sheridan College in Oakville and premiered her first Illyria Design collection in 2001.  She has been building a loyal clientele ever since.

She frequently dresses top Toronto publicist Danielle Iverson and recently outfitted producer Julia Pacino (Al’s daughter) for the screening of Billy Bates at the Toronto International Film Festival. She also custom designs and is frequently asked to do entire wedding parties. “Having my personal clients has always been great for me,” she says. “I’m always happy to entertain new clients and have them come by.”

Pestich loves working from home—“especially in the winter,” she laughs—but is working towards a bigger dream. “Skies the limit,” she says, “ to get into bigger department stores and boutiques with multiple locations.  Just to expand and be a household name and wholesale everywhere and eventually start opening up boutiques.”

Courtesy Rhett Morita.

Her dresses can be purchased at select boutiques across Canada, including local shops Pho Pa (702 Queen St. W.) and Naked Red (171 East Liberty St., Unit 143), as well as directly from Pestich who lives opposite Trinity Bellwoods Park (phone: 416 -471-5936 or email Prices range from $200 to $400 and are available in sizes 2 to 14. For more information, visit

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