Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 


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Maria Pinto's Rococo Influence

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."

WWD has a slideshow of 10 looks from Maria Pinto's Fall 2009 collection, here. Glamour has several additional images, including more of the fabulous dress above, here.

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Reader Comments (33)

Very sensible, down to earth looks. One can easily put together similar ensembles through more budget-friendly, mass-consumer brands. Still, it's a little too unadorned for my taste-but I guess that's a nod to the economic times.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSilvia

This post caused me a pang of regret that I am no longer living in NYC... sigh.
I would have seen that Cooper- Hewitt show for sure, as well as that Valentina retrospective at the Museum of the City of NY ( see the post about her and this show at 'On the Runway' in the NYT) and the fashion photography show at ICP. Mrs T make sure to check them out if you havnt already, you lucky girl.
The Pinto collection is delectable. Lots of tailoring flourishes, and easy sophistication. The dress above feels very 'Paris' to me - the back is a beautiful surprise from the plain and minimal front.
Some her pieces seem to have a Rick Owens influence, which I am seeing all over the NY shows.
I can clearly see Mrs O donning many of the looks in the collection.
I would love to see her in that lean black coat and trouser combo.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRJT

Some beautiful stuff in that collection. also glad to hear she's heading to the white house to visit Mr. & Mrs. O in the near future, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her work even if she wasn't among the inaugural outfits.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermoja31
Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermeta

I just wanted to say that I think that Mrs. O's choice to not wear exclusively Maria Pinto is great. I think that she could easily over do it on a single designer. We all know that Mrs. O loves Maria Pinto. We don't need to have it drilled into our brains every time Mrs. O steps out.

Also, I love my Mrs. O shirt. I wore it the day I got it and several people commented on how nice it looked. I laughed and told them where the inspiration was. Then I got several strange looks. Apparently, I don't look that politically conscious or that fashion conscious. Either way, I love the shirt and thanks so much!

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTori

A photo on the link http://www.mariapinto.com/collections/spring2009 that meta posted above - on page 7 (in the middle) there is a dress that is similar to the dress Michelle wore to the Ford's Theater Opening. Did we ever figure out who the designer of the Ford's Theater dress Michelle wore was?

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah DiMarco

Hi Leah, The Ford's Theatre dress was another from Isabel Toledo (per etonline.com).

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

Look who went to Fashion Week!


These Obamas are slick! Love it!

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

Good catch, IVA!

And lucky Desiree! She had the best seat in the house.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Ooh, that was a good catch! Per Cathy Horyn, Desiree Rogers was in the front row of both the Carolina Herrera and Donna Karan shows.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

Okay, here's a pic from Donna Karan. Love that Desiree and Anna are BFF!

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

I was surprised when I saw the picture! That was very smart of Mrs. O and her team. Give a nod to fashion, but do so acknowledging the times.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

Ikram was also there. She had here people shopping for her. Love Michelle.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBB

This is good investigative work everyone. Hah! Per the NY Post, Ikram attended the Zero + Maria Cornejo show, and gave this short interview:

I also read that Anna Wintour, Desiree Rogers and Ikram all attended the Thakoon show. Hope to have coverage on that show tomorrow.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

I've become very fond of Desirée, ever since I discovered that she's been Zulu queen TWICE! Perspective is all: http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/former_zulu_queen_picked_for_w.html

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterHyde Parker

re: "...the [Pinto] dress above: a fitted, contour hugging sheath from the front, with an unexpected bustle dramatically draped at the back." This top-to-bottom back draping is nearly identical to a style popular in the early 1960s or late 50s. I think they were referred to as "bag dresses" or something like that.

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMOwoman

i love ur style mrs. O, simple yet elegant

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 1:18 AM | Unregistered Commentereds

Yeah it seems like there was quite a bit of a Rick Owens goth influence about ...it was also evident in Maria Cornejo's collection too.

I still think that Jason Wu did pull off quite the impressive collection - Better thought out than some of the older, more established designers actually-

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 4:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterC.

I love Ikram style. She is smart to not answer questions about the first lady. That is why Michelle likes her she keeps her business quiet.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBB

Thanks for the updates Mrs T.
It appears that Mrs O's fashion eyes and ears are out in force.
I love that Ikram is attending the Rodarte show as they are so original, unique and cerebral.
Will their designs show up in Mrs O's wardrobe ?
And thanks for the info on the Fords theater dress - the fact that it is a Toledo makes it all the more sweet.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRJT

I know that this is a website dedicated to our First Lady Michelle. But on MSNBC last night Rachel showed a clip of Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State, getting off of the airplane in Japan and the wind blew the coat open showing the inside lining and it was gorgeous! Here is a photo I found on the net of the coat lining: http://raverantrage.blogspot.com/2009/02/hillary-clinton-and-her-coat-of-many.html


Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah DiMarco

Regarding Hill's coat lining - is she wearing a Hermes trench ??

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRJT

Wow! Hill knocked one out of the ballpark! Gorgeous lining and what's more classic than a trench coat?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

There are several blogs buzzing about that coat, but I can't for the life of me find out who it's made by. Hermes isn't known for Jacobean florals like that, though. Gawker has a better view.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

Thanks for those Hill coat photos.

I've also enjoyed the reports of Desiree at Fashion Week....and just as I was thinking how COLD A.Wintour looked, I read more about her, and decided how warm and fuzzy she looked with Desiree. What a thrill it must have been for her to watch the show from that seat!

D.R. has a very impressive resume, it would be nice to devote an article to her her on the Mrs. O blog.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterallison

I love love LOVE this dress! So beautiful!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterKris from Arkansas

@ allison, we actually had a post on Desiree Rogers recently, here: http://www.mrs-o.org/?p=3544

@ everyone, the coat is amazing! i will do some digging.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

There is a nice little blog post at Time that has a round-up of some colorful, simple sheaths that are very Mrs. O: http://fashionweek.blogs.time.com/2009/02/17/the-michelle-obama-effect/

The writer calls it "The Michelle Obama Effect" which is very true because if there was ONE style cue that I have learned from Mrs.O, it is indeed that a body-conscious dress in a bold shade, but with a simple silhouette, can be a showstopper. I think that idea, along with her use of accessories like belts and brooches, is really Michelle's signature style.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

The Huffington Post has an AMAZING slideshow of Michelle's style during the first 30 days as First Lady. Everyone should check it out, it's on the style page.

I am convinced that they missed a few looks (I think the outfit with the metallic python belt is one) but otherwise, it's a great little walk on memory lane. And it makes it easier to pick the favorite outfits so far.

For me it's definitely the Proenza Schouler dress. I know everyone loved the dress she wore to the Alvin Ailey performance (and I did as well) but for me, nothing so far has topped that amazing royal blue sheath she wore to the National Prayer Service. I wish I could afford to buy it!

And actually, my second choice was the Tracy Feith dress, also worn to a National Prayer Service.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Thanks for the D.R. link, and for this huffington post link!

Can I just say I LOVE THAT CAMEL COAT that she wore for the inagural concert. And the makeup, the WHOLE LOOK WAS ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS.

Now, to other important matters, are the Mrs. O gals on vacation or what :) I keep clicking looking for news and keep coming to this article. I did not see a "vacation request" ladies..... :) :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterallison

Not on vacation. Though that would be lovely. Just waiting eagerly for more Mrs. O appearances!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

FpifnV hi! mi site is http://norffg.com
see you!

Friday, May 29, 2009 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered Commentermarvell

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