Succulent Profile: Maria Pinto, Designer & Artist
By Anne-Marie Kovacs, Chief Wife
When I moved to Chicago in the summer of 2009, I hardly knew anything about the city, except for having heard about a few of its illustrious residents like Oprah and Michelle Obama. And, Maria Pinto who had designed for both of them. You must remember the simple and elegant dresses that Michelle O. wore as she entered the political stage with her husband? These were all MariaPinto designs.
Unfortunately, Maria Pinto's store closed in early 2010 and I never got a chance to visit or experience her luscious designs firsthand. A visit to her website still references some past collections, which are simply breathtaking. The elegance, the fabrics, the colors, the luxurious feel of it all… I swoon.
And so did countless visitors at the Field Museum where Maria Pinto had her own exhibit just a few months ago.
Following the teaser of her museum exhibit – which let us appreciate the full scale of her talent – Maria is back, in her next evolution with a project called M2057.
I learned about this at a FabOverFifty event in Chicago during which Maria Pinto introduced her new line, M2057. Opting to take her vision in an entirely new direction, this ready-to-wear fashion collection is all about providing style-minded women with accessible, highly wearable & versatile, high quality pieces.
This project came about when, as a fashion director and buyer for Mark Shale in 2011, Maria saw a huge gap in the mid-level fashion market: there were too few offerings. The new challenge she then set for herself: to bring the sophistication of her couture collection to the public at a reasonable price.
Challenge met with M2057. It's launch (on Kickstarter and more on that below) includes carefully, beautifully conceived pieces that will have the urban, fashion-conscious, busy woman clamoring for more.
Today’s modern woman wants clothing that keeps up with her busy life, makes her feel beautiful and confident, has a high design quality and durability, but is still a good value. Maria’s inspiration for M2057 by Maria Pinto was to create pieces that are extremely versatile, lasting, and chic.
With M2057, Maria offers a capsule collection of a few “basic” dresses in a variety of colors. The differentiating factors of these dresses over any other dress? So glad you asked, because there are many worth mentioning:
- Contemporary yet timeless designs. Take the Sophia dress. The classic lines make it a style that you will be wearing years from now. Update the shoes and the accessories and the dress will easily cross over to the next decade at least.
- Made of high quality Italian fabrics that are wash & hang-dry. How fab for traveling. The “liquid jersey”, as used on the Sophia, Jesse, Greta and others, drapes beautifully while the “form jersey” used on the Isabella and Franca dresses allow for more sculptural designs.
- All seasons. The collection photos show the dresses in summer mode. But, just add a cardigan or jacket, tights and a cozy scarf and you're set for colder weather. The perfect dresses when traveling across seasonal zones.
- Forgiving. The dresses are designed to fit a wide range of body types and sizes. They flatter where needed and skim over imperfections. Plus, the integrated “second skin” incorporated in the dresses made with the liquid jersey “smoothes out” little bumps.
- Versatile. Styled any number of ways, all the dresses can seamlessly transition from casual to formal events. These are dresses that will work for you as you transform them into anything you need them to be. I'll be wearing my Sophia with flats to travel or shop, with a smart belt, jewelry, heels and jacket to a business meeting and glitz it up further for an evening out.
- Affordable. The dresses launched on Kickstarter are all offered at $250, an extremely approachable price given the high quality of the design and fabric of a dress you'll have forever.
Just like the name Maria Pinto chose for this collection implies innovative, looking-forward thinking (M2057 symbolizes the year when Maria will turn 100), so is her approach to launch M2057 on Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding platform. This time around, Maria wanted this accessible collection to be… well, accessible to all. Kickstarter is the perfect mechanism to honor her fans, old and new (moi) by allowing them to participate directly in her new venture.
An investment in M2057 on Kickstarter is actually a pre-order at a discounted prices (dress prices will go up after the Kickstarter campaign). Some designs will remain exclusive to the Kickstarter campaign as will be the Kickstarter Red color, only available until October 14.
I like everything about this story: the entrepreneurial midlife woman who is still making passionate inroads in the particularly challenging fashion industry, the “practical” yet super-flattering designs (even on the aging bodies of midlife woman), the community aspect to this launch that allows me to partake in its success…
I'm rooting for you Maria! I know you will make it. Only thing is, I'm not sure how I can wait until March to get my dresses!!
PS: To secure you M2057 dress, jacket or accessory, you'll want to pledge on the Kickstarter campaign before October 14, 2013.