Scott Baskin, Mark Shale CEO announced last week that they "couldn't be happier" to have Chicago Designer Maria Pinto as Creative Director for their women's fashions. You could tell by Maria Pinto's enthusiasm when she introduced Mark Shale's "fresh looks for spring" that neither could she!
First she explained that she looks at buying a collection "like a a painter creating a composition – all of the parts need to be relevant." She said that Mark Shale is often looked at as a "to work resource" and Pinto showed us that this is true, but it is also can be the go-to store for looks from weekend to cocktails.
She explained they have named three types of Mark Shale woman to dress, "Blake", "Merrill" and "Enzie". "Blake" is more contemporary, perhaps just starting her career; "Merrill" is more sophisticated, refined, can afford a higher price point and may be a corporate partner; an "Enzie" may be older, and is more playful. The pieces from each of these women may be combined, such as an "Enzie" jacket with "Merrill" pants.
When Pinto was asked how she can go from designing to not designing, she responded, "It is very exciting to help cultivate new brands…and discover something that no one else has."
With informal modeling she showed us some of the well-known lines in Mark Shale's spring collection, such a Ports 1961, DVF and Catherine Malandrino as well as some lines she "discovered" such as Harvey Faircloth and Aluru knits. "Come into the store because it is very exciting – we keep getting new merchandise every day," she said.
She also shared some of her styling advice. Her closet cleaning theory is "You have one dress (or for men it may be a suit), that makes you feel like a rock star. If everything else does not stack up to it then you get rid of it."
When I met Maria Pinto I had to ask her if she will still be designing. "Oh yes, I will never stop designing!" she told me. Perhaps someday there will be Maria Pinto for Mark Shale? I, for one, certainly hope so!
Photos: Second City Style
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