Pina Ianelli, Canadian designer, ultimately defines femininity

At age 9, Pina Ianelli knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“I had this passion for either design or architect. I knew it was always in me to do something creative.”

Now an adult, she is the head designer for Zenobia clothing in Montreal.

“Six years ago, Barry Bly, the founder of Zenobia, contacted me. He said there was an opening for the director of design position that I should apply for. It was a perfect fit and I have been here ever since,” she said.

The Zenobia name was created and defined by a certain brand of woman.

“The culture behind Zenobia has always been the same,” explained Ianelli.Pina Ianelli, head designer for Zenobia, said she always knew she was meant to do something creative.

Photo Courtesy of Zenobia

“The Zenobia woman is intelligent, cultured, critical, cultivated, current and connected. She is a strong figure; she strikes a balance between physical and emotional strength. She is dignified; she has a recognized sense of distinct personal style and presence. And she is also very beautiful; she exudes confidence and works at her natural, sensual and spiritual beauty.”

As the head designer of the brand, Ianelli said she relates to the women that buy the clothes and understands what they want and how they expect to feel once they are wearing them.

“The target demographic for Zenobia is around 30 to 35 years old,” described Ianelli. “I’m a woman, I’m the demographic, and I always take myself into consideration when designing the clothes.”

“I am a size 10, and I know the proper lengths and neck lines that properly flatter women of all shapes and sizes.”

The main objective of shopping for clothes is to feel good in your own skin, she mentioned.

“You want to walk into a room, all eyes on you, and feel confident in how you look.

“That is how I feel about the clothes I create for Zenobia — I see myself in the clothes I sketch,” she said.

Ianelli has a structured draft process when designing the outfits: “At the beginning of the season, I go to Paris to see the fabric mills, where we pick out all the materials we want to use. The first thing I choose is the fabric, then the colour,” explained Ianelli.

“Once I get back from Europe, the creative process starts.”Knee-length, ivory dresses are flattering for women of any size.

Photo Courtesy of Zenobia

“All my designs tell a story of color, and every story has its own identity and comes to life when I sketch it.”

Zenobia clothing is 100 per cent Canadian.

“We design, produce and sell the clothing in Canada,” said Ianelli, “however, our accessories and leathers are all produced in Italy.”

“We take pride in the fabrics we use; that is my favorite part, the choice of fabrics,” she said. “Every piece of the line takes on a life of its own — we give texture and colour.”

Fashionistas can purchase the apparel from numerous loft locations in Canada and in boutiques in the U.S. The Calgary-based Zenobia loft is located in Fashion Central, in the core of the city.

Ianelli mentioned, “Our Calgary loft location is by appointment only; customers can call the loft and pick a scheduled time. We have experienced stylists that work one-on-one with the customer and will dress her from head to toe.”

All fittings are done and all orders are placed months in advance, that way by the time the clothing comes in, that fashion season is just starting.

“It is like a candy store, you get to pick whatever you want,” she said, “but the customers definitely pay for the quality and materials of the clothing.”

• Jackets: $750 – $1,100Flowing blouses and bright hues make the Zenobia line feminine.

Photo Courtesy of Zenobia

• Dresses: $600 – $950

• Coats: $600 – $2,000

• Pants & skirts: $400 – $600

“At the end of the day, it is all about empowering women to feel good about themselves — that is my goal as a designer.”

ltrischuk@cjournal.ca