Despite the city’s signature chill, spring was in the air on Tuesday evening when 7x7 editors arrived at Market Street’s Digital Garage to meet fashion designer Maria Pinto, whose weeklong pop-up shop for her M2057 line has injected the space next door to Super Duper Burger with a super dose of individualist chic.
While Pinto can easily claim that all too easy title of designer to the stars, one shake of her bangled hand and a look through her cateye frames is enough to tell any woman that Pinto is unique among her breed—the real deal in a sea often populated with overly image-conscious fakers.
The celebs she dresses are more Michelle Obama than Kim Kardashian—real women who need clothes that move and live with them without so much as a second’s thought, that look amazing even after they’ve been wadded up in a suitcase. Women like Oprah Winfrey and like the First Lady, who has been photographed in Pinto’s clothes everywhere from Oprah’s Legends Ball to the Democratic National Convention to the cover of Parade.
(Designer Maria Pinto and fashion editor Lauren Goodman, who wears a maxi dress from M2057, style a client in a lightweight trench perfect for yearround SF weather. Photo: Agency Moanalani Jeffrey)
But it’s when Pinto recounts the story of how she funded the launch of her ready-to-wear label M2057 (named for the year she will turn 100) that we realize she really does march to her own beat: In 2013, the designer, who had already established a reputation in the fashion world, chose to launch her diffusion brand via Kickstarter, going directly to her clients and empowering them to be part of the process. The M2057 campaign raised a record-breaking $270,000—a move that, for a brand based in Chicago, feels decidedly San Franciscan.
And so do the clothes. For spring, Pinto has chosen to work with a high-grade Italian fabric with the feel of fine neoprene—it has just the slightest essence of the beach. But, with the exception of a divinely drapey maxi dress that’s readymade for vacation in Tulum, the pieces are straight-up urban: A pair of chic ruched leggings, tailored shift dresses for work in the FiDi, and architectural jackets all meld luxury with versatility and flounces of femininity with a hint of artful edge. It’s a recipe guaranteed to vibe with SF fashion mavens who may soon be able to shop Pinto’s line here at home and on the regular—she has set her cateyes on prime retail space in the Fillmore.
(In two distinct looks from M2057, Kathryn Achenbach and Elsa Flores show the versatility of Pinto's brand. Photo: Agency Moanalani Jeffrey)
Until then, you can meet the lady in person at the M2057 pop-up shop this week; she’s even offering personal style consultations by appointment. It’s a rare opportunity to be dressed by the same woman who dresses FLOTUS. Consider it your patriotic duty. It’s an election year, after all.
// M2057 Pop-Up Shop @ Digital Garage, 717 Market Street (Union Square), 11am to 7pm through March 1 at noon; m2057.com
(San Francisco photog and fashion maven Moanalani Jeffrey tries M2057's trench-style dress over an off-the-shoulder top for her blog, Clique. Photo: Rianna Caparaz for Agency Moanalani Jeffrey)