CHICAGO — Maria Pinto, who gained national recognition for dressing Michelle Obama on the presidential campaign trial, is down but not out — just yet.
Pinto, who said she still plans to close her business, will open the doors of her West Loop boutique here on Tuesday for the final time, offering a five-day, 50 to 70 percent off sale on eveningwear, daywear and her signature wraps.
Talking for the first time after issuing a statement last month about plans to close her design, retail and wholesale operations, Pinto said recent weeks have been both surreal and exhausting.
“We haven’t filed,” she said about bankruptcy. “I have nothing to disclose there, but I’m still closing the business.”
Pinto, who enjoyed a reported 40 percent jump in sales from 2008 to 2009, said her wholesale segment caused the company to topple as retail analysts theorized.
“Our store was doing well,” Pinto said about her namesake boutique at 133 North Jefferson Street, where she worked hard to ensure that “everything was juicy and special.”
But a number of retailers canceled orders for her collection and those that didn’t were buying less, looking to rely on trunk show sales. “Everyone is pulling back and New York is worse than anywhere else,” said Pinto, who in the past has sold to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Takashimaya.
“The big chains need to change their models,” she said. “Women are changing how they consume.
“They’re not into conspicuous consumption,” added Pinto, noting that many shoppers are mixing high and low fashion, purchasing items from H&M along with a few designer pieces.
“The economy is going to be bad for a while and there are going to be a lot of changes in retail,” said Pinto, adding she’s not sure anyone has the solutions at this point.
In turn, Pinto plans to let the dust settle and hopefully stage a comeback.
“I know I hit a mark,” she said, referring to the design, fit and quality of her clothes. “I’m proud of how far I took it.”
For now, Pinto, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, plans to visit friends in Spain and immerse herself in art and painting. “I know I’ll do something again,” she said. “Life is chapters and this is the next chapter.”
Only last year, Pinto became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, showed her spring collection during New York Fashion Week and joined the likes of Anna Sui and Nicole Miller as the recipient of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Legend of Fashion award. She also received the Anti-Defamation League’s Woman of Achievement Award.
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)