MARIA PINTO’S NEXT STEP: Maria Pinto, who gained acclaim dressing Michelle Obama on the 2008 presidential campaign trail, has left her position as women’s creative director at Mark Shale, with plans to unveil her own line in the next year. “I’m proud of what I accomplished,” said Pinto, who breathed new life into the Chicago-based men’s and women’s retailer introducing more distinctive lines such as René Lezard and Schumacher, “but I’m ready for my next venture.

“I see a void in the market for the kind of things I do well,” said Pinto, who plans to create classic investment pieces with an edge and at prices lower than her past collections. Jackets, for instance, would likely retail for $700 to $1,200 instead of starting at $1,200. Pinto produced her line and operated her own store in Chicago until shuttering her business in 2010.

This story first appeared in the October 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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