Chicago Designer Maria Pinto
April 22, 2009 -- Chicago designer Maria Pinto previews SAIC fashion show; student exhibition celebrates 75 years.
Chicago's reputation as a fashion design center has grown in recent years, but Chicago has long been a training ground for young designers. For 75 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has nurtured the talented design students who have gone on to make big contributions to the world of fashion.
SAIC will celebrate its student designers this week at the 75th anniversary of its annual Fashion Show on Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24, in the School's recently opened and acclaimed Sullivan Galleries. For the first time in its storied history, the Fashion Show will be presented within the installed space of SAIC's annual Graduate Exhibition, moving the "runway" away from the catwalk and into the Galleries' open spaces. The idea is to create a vibrant relationship between the work of the School's graduating artists and designers and fashion students. Over 200 innovative garments will be showcased during this multimedia celebration of creative clothing and contemporary art, which will also feature specially commissioned works by students and faculty from the School's Performance department.
A special preview fundraiser, The Walk 2009, will be held on Thursday night, honoring designer and alumna Maria Pinto (BFA 1990), www.mariapinto.com. Guests at the fundraiser will be the first to see this year's show and enjoy conversation with the designers, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres. The 2009 SAIC Legend of Fashion Award will be given to Pinto, the Chicago designer hailed widely for her deliberately modern and confidently sophisticated designs. Pinto marries the rich tradition of artisanal textiles from around the world with the modernity of contemporary America. Her tailored silhouettes have been worn by such figures as First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many more who love her ability to combine luxurious fabrics with clean lines, creating garments that have been described as "classic with an edge." As part of the evening, guests will enjoy a retrospective of Pinto's 18 year career with a display of signature pieces. Following the presentation, guests will have the opportunity to mingle with artists, SAIC faculty and models, getting a closer look at the show garments or even commissioning a custom piece for themselves, as they indulge in decadent desserts. The evening will be capped with a VIP after-party hosted by Billy Dec at River North hotspot The Underground, 56 W. Illinois.
The Walk 2009 starts at 5:30pm in the Sullivan Galleries, 36 S. Wabash Avenue, 7th Floor. Tickets are $500. For tickets or more information, call 312.899.7404.
Fashion Show 2009 will be presented on Friday at 2 pm and 7 pm in the Sullivan Galleries. Tickets are $75 through Ticketmaster and the Art Institute ticket office. For more information, call 312.899.5168.
The success of the School's Fashion Design program and SAIC's trans-disciplinary approach to education is reflected in a list of alumni that includes such notable designers as Halston, Cynthia Rowley, Laurence Steele, J. Morgan Puett, Eunwha Kim, Gary Graham, and Matthew Ames. SAIC graduates hold senior design positions in firms as varied as Yeolee, Jones New York, Levis, Nike, Charles Chang Lima, and Tommy Hilfiger, and design for Anna Sui, Calvin Klein, Zac Posen, Betsey Johnson, Triple5Soul, and Moschino. Upon graduating, many have chosen to intern for international houses such as Victor & Rolf, Alexander McQueen, Wendy & Jim, Castelbajac, Zac Posen, Threeasfour, and William Ivey Long, or to launch their own fashion lines.
SAIC Senior Students featured on ABC 7 and their fashion inspirations
Inspiration: Finding the modern and sophisticated through the heterogeneous style of Teddy Roosevelt; mixing the rugged with the refined.
Garment Description: Black and cream upholstery vest; gray wool blouse; felted wool gabardine skirt; straw hand blocked hat; black deer hide bag.
Inspiration: This collection is attributed to my father, whom I remember always working in his shop, covered in piles of lingerie.
Garment Description: Cream sleeveless jumpsuit with multicolor pastel lace; bra-strap leggings.
Inspiration: Invisible suitcases and illusions of fading memory: my immigrant experience.
Garment Description: Pleated and digitally printed cotton coat.
Inspiration: My collection is inspired by the decadent visions of symbolist artists such as Alfred Kubin, Francis Knopf, and Egon Schiele.
Garment Description: Black boiled wool coat; black lace, silk, and velvet dress.
Inspiration: This collection is inspired by my idea of heaven and the after-life.
Garment Description: White silk gazar and organza rosebud dress.
Inspiration: Beauty can be found in the distortion of self-reflection.
Garment Description: Black cotton fleece short sleeved shirt; felted wool vest; felted wool and silk over coat; dark gray wool wide leg trousers.
A Glance at Recent SAIC Fashion Design Graduates
Meredith Hill (BFA 2005)
Assistant Designer, Anna Sui, New York
Lara Miller (BFA 2003)
Owner and Designer, Lara Miller, Chicago, www.laramiller.net
Profiled in Lucky, Ten by Ten, The Wall Street Journal, and The Chicago Tribune
Melissa Serpico Kamhout (BFA 2006)
Owner and Designer, SERPICO, Chicago, www.serpico-collection.com
Profiled in Women's Wear Daily, Lucky, and Chicago Magazine
Abby Sturges (BFA 2005)
Head Designer, Maggie Ward, Los Angeles
Shoshana Tuszer (BFA 2005)
Senior Associate Designer, Laundry by Design, New York
Miri Uhm (BFA 2008)
Profiled in I.D. Magazine (January 2009)
Second place in the 2008 Japan Fashion Week New Designer Fashion Grand Prix
Judy Yang (BFA 2005)
Assistant Designer, Anna Sui, New York
ABOUT MARIA PINTO
Maria Pinto's luxurious women's accessories collection debuted at Bergdorf Goodman in 1991 after being 'discovered' by then-president Dawn Mello. Almost immediately, Pinto received recognition as a designer who could take the most unusual of fabrics and transform them into elegant, signature pieces. It was this initial success that gave her the confidence to expand her brand into the eveningwear arena.
In 2002, Maria Pinto shuttered her doors due to health and business complications. The time away proved vital as Pinto regained her health she also regained her passion for the industry. In 2004, she reopened her doors with a new vision of the brand that would introduce separates for day, thus rounding out her previously successful eveningwear and accessory collections.
Whether her clients are high profile figures or celebrities, they all come back to Maria Pinto for her tailored silhouettes that are made to fit a variety of lifestyles. Maria Pinto's success comes from combining luxurious fabrics with clean lines. Juxtaposing these elements together with sensuality and passion, Pinto creates collections that define 'classic with an edge'.
In August of 2008, Maria Pinto opened the doors to her first boutique, a natural extension of her atelier, located in Chicago's West Loop. Pinto's collections are known for well-edited luxury; each garment incorporates innovative materials and sophisticated tailoring from beginning to end. This attention to detail is reflected in the environment of the retail space from the moment a client walks through the door.
Maria Pinto's collections have been featured in major fashion publications, including Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar and InStyle.
She has received many prestigious design and fashion accolades throughout her career, including the opportunity on two occasions to design seductive costumes for the Joffrey Ballet's Recorde Per Due (2002) and Age of Innocence (2008); the Best of Fashion Award, Chicago Magazine (2000); and the Gold Coast Fashion Award, previously won by Anne Klein, Donna Karan and Bill Blass (1998). In 2009, Maria Pinto will be honored by the Anti-Defamation League as the recipient of their Women of Achievement Award, and the School of The Art Institute's Legend of Fashion Award.
An alumna of Chicago's School of the Art Institute, majoring in fine art with a focus in fashion, Pinto also attended New York's Parson's School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Pinto landed a coveted position working for legendary designer Geoffrey Beene soon after graduation. It was there that Pinto learned the importance of 'attention to detail', the techniques of draping, and the art of editing.
The Maria Pinto Collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney's New York, and Takashimaya as well as other fine boutiques across the country.
SAIC Fashion Show 2009
April 23 and 24
Sullivan Galleries, entrance at 36 S. Wabash Avenue, 7th Floor
The Walk 2009 Preview Fundraiser, Thursday, April 23, 5:30pm
Tickets for The Walk 2009 start at $500; please contact 312.899.7404 for tickets and sponsorship opportunities
Listing: School of the Art Institute of Chicago Hosts "The Walk 2009" Gala
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fashion Show, fashion and art lovers from across the nation will gather for "The Walk 2009." The benefit evening is presented in SAIC's recently opened, critically acclaimed Sullivan Galleries in the Sullivan Center, the former historic home of Carson Pirie Scott & Co. "The Walk 2009" begins at 5:30 p.m. when guests gather in the Sage Studios for cocktails and an epicurean strolling supper as they explore the space where fashion students transform their vision into reality. At 7 p.m., guests move to the nearby Sullivan Galleries to take their seats amidst a forest of cutting edge contemporary art by SAIC MFA students, to enjoy the renowned fashion show. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the 2009 SAIC Legend of Fashion Award to Chicago-based designer and alumna Maria Pinto (BFA 1990). Pinto, hailed widely for her deliberately modern and confidently sophisticated designs, marries the rich tradition of artisanal textiles from around the world with the modernity of contemporary America. Her tailored silhouettes have been worn by such figures as First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many more who love her ability to combine luxurious fabrics with clean lines, creating garments that have been described as "classic with an edge." As part of the evening, guests will enjoy a retrospective of Pinto's 18 year career with a display of signature pieces. Following the presentation, attendees have the opportunity to mingle with artists, SAIC faculty and models, getting a closer look at the show garments or even commissioning a custom piece for themselves, as they indulge in decadent desserts. The evening will be capped with a VIP after-party hosted by Billy Dec at River North hotspot The Underground, 56 W. Illinois.
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