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Maria Pinto (fashion designer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maria Pinto
Maria Pinto logo.svg
Maria Pinto logo
Born1957 (age 61–62)
OccupationFashion designer

Maria V. Pinto (born 1957) is a fashion designer from Chicago, Illinois. She has designed clothing for Oprah Winfrey, the Joffrey Ballet, Marcia Gay Harden, and Michelle Obama.

Early life

Maria Pinto was born in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, near Chinatown.[1] She and her twin brother are the youngest of seven children.[2][3] Her parents, Constantino and Virginia Pinto, are a sanitation worker and a caterer, respectively. When she was still young, her family moved to the suburbs of Chicago.[4]

When Pinto was 10, she started reading a neighbor's copies of Women's Wear Daily.[5] In eighth grade, she started sewing her own clothes after getting a sewing machine.[2][5] She attended Palatine High School,[6] where she sold clothes to her friends at the age of 15,[5][7] and eventually sewed her own prom dress from a Halston pattern.[8]

Pinto began working in her mom's West Dundee Italian restaurant when it opened in 1975. When the restaurant closed four years later, Pinto's older brother Silvio opened a restaurant in the River North neighborhood, and she became a partner there. That restaurant also closed, in 1987, and Silvio died of cancer a year later. She went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987 when she was 30 and graduated from there in 1990 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, focusing in fashion. She then went to New York and attended Parson's School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she also worked as an assistant to Geoffrey Beene.[4]


Michelle and Barack Obama fist bump with Michelle in a dress by Pinto
Michelle and Barack Obama fist bump with Michelle in a dress by Pinto

She started her first business, Maria V. Pinto Designs, in her apartment with a $20,000 loan from a friend[9] in 1991. Her collection was sold at, among others, Neiman Marcus,[10] Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Takashimaya, and Bergdorf Goodman.[8][11]

She closed her Michigan Avenue[10] shop in January 2002 because of embezzlement by a bookkeeper[12] and the economic downturn after the September 11 attacks.[13] She also spent six months recovering from peritonitis after laparoscopic surgery[1] but reopened in late 2004 after spending some time oil painting.[14][15]

Oprah Winfrey wore a long, cognac-colored leather skirt of Pinto's for the 2007 premiere of The Great Debaters.[13][16](slide 6)

Maria Pinto designed costumes for two Joffrey Ballet ballets, the pas de deux Ruth, Ricordi Per Due in 2002[17] and Age of Innocence in 2008.[18][19]

On August 12, 2009, she opened a retail boutique in Chicago's West Loop.[20] She held a kick-off party for 350 guests to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's women's board.[21] That year, she also was invited to become a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.[4]

She was selected out of 100 as one of eight to present a design for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscars preview fashion show on February 9, 2009. The fashion show's winner had their design worn by the presenter or a nominee at the 81st Academy Awards in Los Angeles, as well as being able to attend the Oscars.[8][22] After an online poll,[23] a dress by another Chicago-based designer, Sam Kori George, was chosen.[24]

Pinto's boutique in the Near West Side, Chicago (It closed in 2010.)
Pinto's boutique in the Near West Side, Chicago (It closed in 2010.)

In spring 2009, actress Brooke Shields wore a bustier and pants that Pinto had designed to a Tupperware event.[16](slide 8)

Actress Marcia Gay Harden wore a Pinto dress to the August premiere of The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.[16](slide 7)

The next month, television host Nancy O'Dell wore one of her minidresses as co-host of the Jerry Lewis Telethon.[16](slide 9)[25](slide 10) The same month, she presented a runway show at New York Fashion week.[4]

In February 2010, she closed her Chicago boutique.[26][27] However, she announced that she plans to return to the business, saying, "I'm here. I just need to take a break. I will be in fashion for sure but in some new facet. I think the whole industry is changing".[28][29]

In "Fashion and the Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto", an exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum from September 14, 2012 to June 16, 2013,[30] Pinto matched eight of her designs with twenty-five of the museum's artifacts.[31][32][33] In December 2012, about sixty students from Palatine High School and other surrounding high schools went on a special trip to meet Pinto and see the exhibit.[34] Pinto had previously invited Palatine High School fashion students to visit and tour her boutique in January 2010.[35]

On August 31, 2013, Pinto announced on her blog[36] that she plans to launch a new collection, called M2057, with the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. She offered garments such as dresses, jackets, scarves, a shrug, and a wrap for ordering through Kickstarter.[37][38] They range in price from $75 to $250, much cheaper than her $500–$1,000 previous dresses.[39] She exceeded her goal, to raise $250,000 before October 14, 2013, by obtaining $272,523 in funds from 624 different backers.[40][41] The "2057" part of the collection's name refers to the year in which she would turn 100 years old.[42][43] Since the Kickstarter campaign, she sells the line through both an e-commerce site and a retail store in Chicago near her old boutique.[44] The clothes are intended to be versatile and low-maintenance, as they resist wrinkling when folded and are machine-washable.[45]

Michelle Obama

One of her clients is former First Lady Michelle Obama. A client of Pinto's referred Obama to her in 2004.[46] Obama wore a white gown designed by Maria Pinto to Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball in May 2005.[26] When Ebony magazine photographed the Obamas, calling them "the Hottest Couple in America," Michelle was wearing pants made by Pinto.[47][48] On June 3, 2008, Obama wore a Pinto dress to a campaign speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she and her husband exchanged a fist bump that became known as "the fist bump heard 'round the world."[5][20][49] On August 25 of that year, Michelle Obama wore a teal dress from Pinto to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[20] Obama wore an orange sheath designed by Pinto for a visit to the White House with George and Laura Bush shortly after the election.[20][50] Michelle Obama was on the cover of Parade magazine in June 2014 wearing a dress from the M2057 collection.[51] On October 8, 2014, she invited Pinto to attend her Celebration of Design event at the White House.[52]


Pinto has won numerous awards, including the Gold Coast Fashion Award in 1998, Chicago Magazine's Best of Fashion Award in 2000, the Legend of Fashion Award from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Anti-Defamation League's Women of Achievement Award, both in 2009.[53]

See also


  1. ^ a b Coburn, Marcia Froelke (March 2008). "Dressing to Thrill". Chicago. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Critchell, Samantha (January 15, 2009). "A Michelle Obama favorite, designer Maria Pinto favors art over trends". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  3. ^ Taylor, Bill (August 22, 2008). "The woman behind that purple dress". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Maria Pinto". Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale. 2010. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Branch, Shelly (June 21, 2008). "Fashion Campaign". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  6. ^ Little, Rebecca (October 2008). "Shopper: Maria Pinto". Chicago. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Berkus, Nate; Pinto, Maria (January 21, 2009). Fashion Designer Maria Pinto. Oprah Radio. Retrieved July 9, 2013.[dead link]
  8. ^ a b c Moore, Booth (February 15, 2009). "Maria Pinto, Michelle Obama's designer, hopes for Hollywood fame". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Chandler, Susan (August 22, 2004). "Shaping her future, again". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Chandler, Susan (June 27, 1998). "Premier Designer At Home In Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  11. ^ Norwood, Mandi (2009). Michelle Style: Celebrating the First Lady of Fashion. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 195–196. ISBN 978-0-06-183691-6.
  12. ^ Donahue, Wendy (October 19, 2008). "Something about Maria Pinto". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Wilson, Beth (March 11, 2008). "Pinto Builds on Obama Link, Plans Chicago Store". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  14. ^ Wilson, Eric (October 20, 2004). "Maria Pinto Returns to Ready to Wear". Women's Wear Daily. HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  15. ^ Bourne, Leah (October 9, 2009). "Maria Pinto's Style: Va-va-voom Meets The Board Room". Forbes. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d Bourne, Leah (October 9, 2009). "Seven Best Looks of Maria Pinto". Forbes. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Smith, Sid (April 25, 2003). "Joffrey's 'I/DNA' mythic and puzzling". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  18. ^ Perez, Guillermo (April 2010). "Joffrey Ballet". Dance Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  19. ^ Johnson, Elsa; Lucas, Victor (August 30, 2010). "Preview: Death & Ballet: Joffrey w/ The Cleveland Orchestra". Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  20. ^ a b c d Saulny, Susan (August 13, 2008). "An Obama Fashion Bump". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  21. ^ Zwecker, Bill (August 19, 2008). "Madge's tribute 'forced'". Chicago Sun-Times. HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  22. ^ Zwecker, Bill (January 27, 2009). "After inauguration snub, on to the Oscars (maybe)". Chicago Sun-Times. HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  23. ^ "Maria Pinto Explores Curves; Eyes Academy Awards". The Wall Street Journal. February 14, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  24. ^ "America Voted: Sam Kori George Wins 'Oscars(R) Designer Challenge'" (Press release). Reuters. February 22, 2009. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  25. ^ Romolini, Jennifer (March 19, 2010). "RIP Maria Pinto clothes: Favorite Michelle Obama designer closes her doors, cites 'economic challenges'". Yahoo! Shine. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Rousseau, Caryn (March 18, 2010). "Capital culture: Maria Pinto, designer favored by Michelle Obama, set to close Chicago store". Star Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 7, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  27. ^ Zwecker, Bill (February 14, 2010). "Chicago-based designer Maria Pinto hangs it up". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  28. ^ Gutierrez, Theresa (March 15, 2010). "Designer Maria Pinto going out of business". ABC 7 News. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  29. ^ Chicago Fashion Designer, Maria Pinto!. Windy City Live. September 14, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  30. ^ Rousseau, Caryn (September 14, 2012). "Fashion designer Pinto teams with Chicago museum". Associated Press. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  31. ^ Johnson, Steve (September 19, 2012). "Designer Maria Pinto creates chic fashion boutique in Field Museum collection". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  32. ^ Prossnitz, Linsay (September 13, 2012). "Fashion and The Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto". wttw. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  33. ^ Nusser, Madeline (September 12, 2012). "Fashion mash-up: Maria Pinto finds inspiration in Field Museum artifacts". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  34. ^ "District 211 Fashion Students Meet Famous Designer Maria Pinto, Tour Exhibit". D211 Post. December 10, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  35. ^ Sotonoff, Jamie (January 21, 2010). "Palatine High alum one of country's hottest fashion designers". Daily Herald. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  36. ^ Pinto, Maria (August 31, 2013). "Introducing M2057 by Maria Pinto". M2057. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  37. ^ Rousseau, Caryn (September 2, 2013). "Maria Pinto launches new collection on Kickstarter". Associated Press. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  38. ^ Kapos, Shia (September 5, 2013). "Maria Pinto is back, this time on Kickstarter". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  39. ^ "Maria Pinto Kickstarter Will Relaunch Beloved Fashion Brand". Huffington Post. September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  40. ^ "M2057 by Maria Pinto: Urban Chic Fashion Collection". Kickstarter. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  41. ^ Barr, Alistair (October 13, 2013). "Designer Pinto gets $250,000 'kickstart' for new label". USA Today. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  42. ^ Nguyen, Diana (November 26, 2013). "10 Kick-Ass Women Inspiring Us Now". Refinery29. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  43. ^ Wilson, Eric (September 1, 2013). "Maria Pinto Makes Another Run". The New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  44. ^ Yotka, Steff (July 28, 2016). "A Favorite Designer of Michelle Obama's Is Back With a New Line". Vogue. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  45. ^ Donahue, Wendy (November 12, 2015). "First look: Maria Pinto's new M2057 storefront". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  46. ^ Tomer, Mary (October 28, 2009). Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy. New York: Hatchet Book Group. ISBN 978-1-59995-312-0.
  47. ^ Norment, Lynn (February 2007). "The Hottest Couple in America". Ebony. Questia. 62 (4). Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  48. ^ Schwartz, Tracy (April 24, 2007). "Designing for the stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  49. ^ Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (June 5, 2008). "The Fist Couple: Giving a Big Bump to Authenticity". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  50. ^ Donahue, Wendy (November 11, 2008). "Change—back to a Maria Pinto". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  51. ^ Hennen, Chloé (February 25, 2016). "Get Dressed Like FLOTUS at Maria Pinto's M2057 Pop-Up Shop in SF This Week". 7x7. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  52. ^ Donahue, Wendy (October 8, 2014). "Maria Pinto once again on road to White House". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  53. ^ "Chicago Designer Maria Pinto". ABC 7 News. April 22, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2012.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 September 2019, at 20:29
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