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Michelle Obama, our soon-to-be First Lady, is already setting fashion trends for the modern day working woman. Her regal yet contemporary style has gone beyond the color barrier to garner the attention of all races and now women worldwide are pining to know what she’ll wear next. One of Obama’s go-to designers is Chicago native Maria Pinto, whose collection is defined by classic American design that marries form with function. The designer is known for her luxurious European fabrics, exquisite draping and her ability to create seemingly custom-made pieces. Other leading ladies, including Oprah Winfrey, have worn Pinto’s designs. The line launched in 1991 and the current collection is available at select Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Takashimaya stores.

 tracked down the increasingly busy Pinto and asked her about dressing the future First Lady and mother of two for her first official visit to the White House in that fiery red dress. “Michelle’s style can best be described as timeless. Choosing items that are always modern and chic, Mrs. Obama possesses a natural and unpretentious sophistication, which is reflected in her clothing,” says Pinto. “But what I love most is that at the foundation of this fabulous woman is an unbelievable brilliance and eloquence coupled by the grace and beauty of a dancer. She is captivating in any arena. Style aside, it is her wit and intellect that will make her an extraordinary First Lady.”