Maria Pinto Closes

Discussion in 'Designers and Collections' started by lucy92, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    Chicago-based designer Maria Pinto hangs it up

    Did outfits for first lady and Oprah, but falls victim to 'economic challenges'



    A major Chicago-based fashion designer has closed her doors.
    Maria Pinto, whose high-profile customers have included first lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many of Chicago's top socialites and civic leaders, told the Chicago Sun-Times exclusively that she had initiated proceedings to cease business operations of her company Lola Black LLC, including the closing of the Maria Pinto retail boutique in the West Loop.

    It was expected that Pinto would seek protection in a bankruptcy filing early this week.
    Pinto said, ''After 20 years of pursuing my greatest passion and striving to build a successful high-end fashion business, the time has come for a new chapter in my life.''
    Pinto cited ''increasing economic challenges and soft buying trends at the top end of the apparel market'' among the reasons for the downfall of her business, which includes the shuttering of her design and wholesale operations and the retail store on South Jefferson.
    ''I am confident that the 'Maria Pinto' name will not go away, but will merely take a break, before emerging in a new form. I plan on using the next several months to explore different avenues and opportunities for business, as economic conditions improve," Pinto said.
    The designer's assessment of the local and national fashion merchandising and retail scene was supported by Marsha Brenner, executive director of Chicago's Apparel Industry Board.
    Noting that ''so many people are in trouble,'' Brenner stressed that today's large number of store closings and designers ceasing operations is nothing new.
    ''We have had shakeouts in the apparel industry over the last 15 years, but I must say, I have never seen it as bad as it is now. ... These [closings] are the most I've ever seen,'' she said.
    Brenner said firms ''that are managing to hang on are the ones that are well-diversified.''
    But she also noted the irony of the fashion business: ''While diversification is important, many designers made their names and made their reputations by being very niche-oriented ... making special things for special people,'' she said.
    "It's not like the old days when you could put the name of any good designer on a hanger and it sold -- sometimes by the strength of that name only," Brenner said. ''Today, a label is not enough. Customers are very sophisticated, and they want good value for their dollar."
    Maria Pinto had long made her mark on the Chicago and national fashion scene. After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and New York's Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology, she landed her first job in fashion working for famed designer Geoffrey Beene.
    Pinto launched her own line in 1991 and shortly thereafter was selling her upscale collection of women's accessories in stores such as New York's Bergdorf Goodman.
    From accessories, Pinto expanded into evening wear. She was noted for her creative use of unusual fabrics.
    Health and earlier business issues led Pinto to take a two-year break at the beginning of the century, relaunching in 2004 and adding daytime clothes to her collections. The Maria Pinto label began popping up at Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney's New York and similar upscale boutiques.
    Pinto opened her first retail atelier in the West Loop in 2008.
    As Michelle Obama's profile rose, Pinto gained notoriety as the designer seemingly most favored by the future first lady. Many Chicagoans -- especially those close to the Obamas and their campaign -- assumed Pinto would be tapped to create one of the outfits Obama would wear for the 2009 inauguration.
    When the new first lady went elsewhere for the dress she wore in Grant Park on election night, her Inauguration Day outfit and the gown she wore to the inaugural balls, it surprised many.
    Pinto, however, never openly expressed regret or disappointment.



    suntimes.com
     
    #1 lucy92, Feb 15, 2010
    Last edited by moderator : Feb 15, 2010
  2. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    Chicago-based fashion designer Maria Pinto told the Sun-Times Saturday that she has closed her doors. Pinto designed gowns for First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah, among others. (AP File)
     

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  3. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    some of her designs

    suntimes.com
     

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  4. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    this is a shame.
     
  5. Miss Dalloway

    Miss Dalloway Well-Known Member

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    Really sad, i hope she can come back, and start again her businness.
     

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