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Designer Maria Pinto stunned the fashion world last spring when, after almost 20 years in business, she made the heartbreaking decision to shut down her West Loop boutique and cease wholesale operations. Her parting words: ''I am confident that the 'Maria Pinto' name will not go away, but will merely take a break, before emerging in a new form.”
Fast forward 12 months: Mark Shale, in an effort to rejuvenate the women’s collection, announced last week that they had hired Pinto as their new Creative Director for Women, injecting a much-needed sexiness to the 80-year old, Chicago-based clothier. Racked was eager to find out a bit more about Pinto’s new gig:
Racked: How did you and Mark Shale begin this wonderful collaboration...was it pretty organic from the start?
Pinto: Mark Shale originally invited me to do a bit of consulting work with them before I decided to take on this position as Creative Director. It was a very nice progression to discovering that we would make a great fit.
Racked: So tell us about your new position with Mark Shale. What are you in charge of?
Pinto: My responsibilities as the Creative Director for Women range from curating all collections bought for women, to the visuals and marketing for the women's store.
Racked: What creative direction would you like to take Mark Shale's women's department?
Pinto: The Mark Shale look is sophisticated, understated, and chic. We are right now all about creating this cohesive vision for the Mark Shale women’s store...our customers will find a great selection of tightly edited pieces for work, for the weekend, and for cocktails.
Racked: What new designers would you like to bring to the Mark Shale sales floor?
Pinto: For my first season with Mark Shale, I have brought in some gorgeous items such as Rene Lezard black suit, Catherine Malandrino black chiffon blouse, Allegri trench, and Ports 1961 bronze silk cocktail dress, to name a few. But I must say, stay tuned for lots of amazing new collections later this year, including exclusive fall pieces you won’t find anywhere else.
Racked: Would you design a clothing line specifically for Mark Shale?
Pinto: Absolutely, when the time is right!