Michelle Obama Favorite Maria Pinto to Close

Michelle Obama wearing Maria Pinto in the White House in September.

Designer Maria Pinto revealed she is closing her business operations and store in Chicago. A favorite of Michelle Obama, Pinto expects to file for bankruptcy protection this week. She started her own label in 1991, and cites ''increasing economic challenges and soft buying trends at the top end of the apparel market'' as a reason for the closure. She added, ''I am confident that the 'Maria Pinto' name will not go away, but will merely take a break, before emerging in a new form. I plan on using the next several months to explore different avenues and opportunities for business, as economic conditions improve." [Chicago Sun Times]