The West Loop – fashion capital of the Midwest! Not really, but worth noting anyway
CHICAGO — Election-year pundits have analyzed everything about Michelle Obama, from the size of her pearls to her newly hired chief of staff. But few have taken much note of the person responsible for one of her most formidable campaign tools: her wardrobe.
The designer behind much of Mrs. Obama’s public attire is an effusive 51-year-old Chicago native, Maria Pinto. A clothing resource to prominent local women including Oprah Winfrey, she was relatively unknown outside Chicago until 16 months ago, when Mrs. Obama began appearing on the campaign trail in Ms. Pinto’s streamlined pieces.
Ms. Pinto created the red silk-crepe dress and jacket Mrs. Obama wore on Super Tuesday and the white-cotton top and khakis she donned to stump with Caroline Kennedy. On June 3, Mrs. Obama sported a $900 Pinto-designed purple silk shift as she fist-bumped her husband before his Democratic primary victory speech in St. Paul, Minn.
The Obama buzz has helped lift Ms. Pinto’s brand. “It’s a huge compliment,” she says. Orders for her designs are up 35% over the past 12 months, and potential investors and employees are cold-calling, she says. Ms. Pinto and her staff of 18 will soon be vacating their modest industrial studio for larger quarters in Chicago’s West Loop, with a 2,200-square-foot boutique, Ms. Pinto’s first. The space is now being outfitted with bamboo floors and soaring, Italian-tiled columns for a July opening.
[From Fashion Campaign – WSJ.com]
I’ll have to pop over to the new boutique one of these days, and see what’s to be seen.
[Digg-enabled full access to article via this link, including several photos of Ms. Pinto’s fashion designs.]
update, now the store is open.