The fashion industry is one of the most fascinating and inspiring industries, as it allows creativity to be expressed in so many ways. For Ilona Matsour, founder of   MATSOUR’I fashion is not only about following current trends, but also about channelling emotions and memories into unique and bespoke designs.

The industry is looking very different from what it was decades ago. Designers are now crafting versatile clothing that will last and keep elegance and style intact. This is a welcome development in the battle against fast fashion that has reconnected us with the aesthetics of heritage design while evoking the touch of today’s aesthetics. For Ilona, owning versatile and lasting pieces is an investment, and she inspires every bit of it in her hand-made curations.

It all started with quitting cubicle life to explore creativity and freedom by starting her own business. Like every entrepreneur hustling to make their business work, Ilona’s journey had a similar dicey start, which she calls a ‘beautiful mess’. “I remember my first steps as a self-employed person. I always knew fashion was my answer to my creative endeavors, but it was all new to me. I was determined to find my way, but with a shaky step of course! But, trust me, it was a beautiful mess, and I am so grateful for it,” said Ilona.

Ilona’s path to becoming a successful fashion designer has been far from conventional. Boldly shifting focus from being a computer science graduate to being a full-time fashion designer, she started working with different fashion journals and online fashion platforms and soon decided to bring her experience to the field by launching her own brand, MATSOUR’I in 2016. With a strong focus on contemporary and timeless pieces, the label has managed to dress many international clients including celebrities. Since its inception, MATSOUR’I  has been known for its feminine and dreamlike designs.

She says, “Fashion is all about evoking the right emotion. It should make you feel something. It’s an art form that allows you to express yourself and your individuality. I have never tried creating pieces that fit body types or personality types, instead, I believe fashion should be the other way around. It should be something that should fit you.”

Notably seen on red carpets, the curations are all about blending in the tints and shades of simplicity with extravagance. The creations exude the power of silhouettes, fabrications, and embellishments to create an elegant and timeless style. In each turn, the collection expresses the designer’s inexhaustible pursuit of perfection in cuts and finishings. Ilona says, “I am inspired by many things, but what really drives me is the idea of creating something new that has never been done before.”

Ilona Matsour /Venice Film Festival, September 2022 (Photo by Andrea Paoletti)

Sublimating confidence and personalization, Ilona says she tries designing pieces that make people dream. “For me, fashion is not just about creating something that looks good on the runway. It’s about making people feel good in their own skin and giving them the power to express themselves,” she adds.

The cocktail dress called “Hortensia” from her earliest collection was a testament to this. An elegant blue floral piece with royal details, embedded with sea flowers evokes pure romance and a subtle hint of seduction with its fine details. With a delicate finish of handmade flowers, the dress is one of her iconic pieces to turn heads.

She counts many designers as an influence on her. “I love what my favorite designers, Elie Saab and Oliver Rousteing, bring to the table. I learnt how to put extravagance and elegance together with a strong sense of color and a modern perspective,” she says.

In an ever-changing industry, Ilona has managed to keep her finger on the pulse through her goal of making each piece a work of art that can be treasured for a lifetime. “I would describe my personal style as classic with a modern edge. I love mixing different styles together,” she says.

With her designs being worn by some of the most famous names and being published in top magazines and publications for her exquisite collections, it’s no wonder Ilona is instilling reimagination and dreamy creations in the fashion industry, one creative masterpiece at a time.

Photographer: Olesya Ponomarenk, @divna_sumish

Hair /Make-up: Memo Schmage, @memo_schmage_artist