A rainy day in April at the Paine Art Center and Gardens set the stage for a chic fashion event in its new conservatory. Featuring Chicago-based fashion designer Maria Pinto, known for her iconic fashions for First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. The event included a delicious luncheon, an onstage interview with Maria and a runway show of Maria’s new M2057 Collection. Afterward, guests visited with Maria backstage and got a closer look at her collection and even tried on various pieces.
Maria has a fondness for artisans and sees art (and it’s makers) as an important part of today’s culture. I personally was inspired by her vision to create the M2057 line – clothing line inspired by technology with a fit for every woman. She also told me about one of her inspirational figures, Madeleine Vionnet, who invented the bias cut in France in the 1920’s. Another gifted artist, Chef Peter Kuenzi of Zuppas, created a menu to delight our eyes and palettes.
- First course: Plated cheese selection of Huntsman, St. Andre & Sharp White Cheddar with baguettes and red and green grapes.
- Entree: A salad of grilled chicken breast on a bed of mixed baby kale, blood oranges, pomegranate, feta cheese, pine nuts and a citrus vinaigrette.
- Dessert: Mango sabayon layered with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
The energy in the room during the runway show was electric. The 100+ audience members applauded their favorite fashions while discussing between themselves what ensembles they were most interested in trying on backstage.
Backstage, models helped described the fit of the designs they were wearing while guests of the show found their favorites to try on. It was amazing to see how the designs looked on everyone and how truly versatile the different designs were on different bodies. I think the entire experience of being able to try on a designer garment in the presence of the maker is a once in a lifetime experience. I definitely got in on the action! I tried on the Isabella, Franca and the Caress. With help from Maria I chose the Isabella in Midnight Blue! The collar is to die for and the fabric is stunning. I cannot wait to wear this dress to weddings I will be photographing this summer!
M2057 – Mara Pinto
Lead Sponsor – JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts
Catering – Zuppas Market, Café and Catering
Floral – House of Flowers
Light and Sound – Fantasia Mobile Sound and Lighting
Event Coordination – Paine Art Center and Gardens
Rentals: BBJ Linen and Modern Rentals
Models – Erika’s Bridal Coture, Miss Oshkosh Pageant, and First Choice Modeling Agency
Hair and Makeup – Trillium Salon
Maria used the website Kickstarter to raise equity for her line – M2057. There is nothing that I admire more than a creative savvy business woman. To read more about how Kickstarter helps raise funds for people in the creative industry visit their page explaining seven things to know about Kickstarter. Play the video below to hear how Maria launched M2057 through the Kickstarter program.