Fashion designer Maria Pinto was one of the four keynotes speakers invited to the Creative Chicago Expo last weekend. Celebrating the creativity of native Chicagoans in various fields, the two days event also included talks by artist Theaster Gates, chef Carrie Nahabedian, and film producer Robert Teitel.
SAIC alumna, Maria Pinto has dressed First Lady Michelle Obama, Brooke Shields, Oprah Winfrey and the whole Joffrey Ballet company. In 2012, she was invited by the Field Museum to showcase some of her garments in juxtaposition with clothing and accessories she selected from the Museum’s collection in a show called Fashion and The Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto.
As Pinto recounted her first memories about fashion, she mentioned her encounter with tie-dye as a child, and how this fatally led to her father’s and brother’s white cotton underwear turning multicolored. The next decisive step in her fashion education was coming across Geoffrey Beene’s designs. As she explained to the audience, Beene originally studied medicine, and his knowledge of the human body prompted him to design and construct simple, beautifully fitted clothes. The seams in his creations followed anatomical structures, muscles, and natural inclinations of the body. This type of seaming technique is widely used today but as Pinto explains, Beene pioneered it. As she describes her fascination for the doctor turned designer, she confesses that when she finished her studies, she didn’t want to work for anybody but him, even if it meant interning with him by day and waiting in a restaurant by night, which is precisely what she did.
Maria Pinto’s work is not only interesting because of the beauty of her designs and the way they are both easier to wear for women yet still convey a sense of soft luxury and powerful construction, but also in what inspires her designs. Her 2008 collection for instance, was inspired by Richard Serra’s architecture, her spring 2009 was the result of watching Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, fall 2009 was inspired by an exhibition called Rococo, the continuing curve, finally, tango was the point of departure for her Spring 2010 collection.
M2057, is Pinto’s long awaited return to Ready-to-Wear. This capsule collection with garments ranging between $75 and $250 has been entirely funded through Kickstarter and is available for purchase on the crowd-funding website.