Dress fom Maria Pinto's Fall 2009 Collection; Photo used with kind permission from Glamour.com
In New York this past week to present her Fall 2009 collection, Chicago-based designer (and Mrs. O fave) Maria Pinto revealed her inspiration to the New York Daily News: "Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730 - 2008", the exhibit on display last year at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York. The exhibit celebrated the rococo style movement, an aesthetic that "infused design objects with a sinuous, organic and sensuous impulse".
Such an influence was evident in Pinto's Fall collection, which includes clothes that as the designer described, "fit in one area of the body, releasing to certain volume in another area." Our favorite example is the dress above: a fitted, contour hugging sheath from the front, with an unexpected bustle dramatically draped at the back. While many designers turn to a black-centric palette in hard economic times (for its versatility and buy-ability), not Ms. Pinto.
Her latest collection brings a healthy dose of the rich, bold hues she's become know for - and that our First Lady seems to love so much. When Glamour magazine editor Tracey Lomrantz asked the designer if she had any hesitation about "using such beautifully saturated colors, given the economy and people's tendency to want to tone things down?", the designer replied, "No, exactly the opposite! We all have enough black clothes in our closets. If you're going to buy something now, buy something you really love that makes a statement."
There has, of course, been bit of noise regarding the absence of Ms. Pinto's designs in the Inaugural wardrobe. But we should make no mistake, Ms. Pinto is still a prominent design force in the First Lady's closet. By our count, Mrs. O has worn at least two Maria Pinto dresses in her first weeks at the White House. In fact, the red Vonda dress that Mrs. O wore at Howard University last week was from this very collection. On the subject of the First Lady, Ms. Pinto shared these kind words with Glamour: "It's wonderful to dress a woman with integrity and intellect, who stands for so much."