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Maria Pinto, Michelle Obama Favorite, To Close (PHOTOS)

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Designer Maria Pinto has announced that she will cease business operations and close her retail boutique in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Pinto, a Michelle Obama favorite, also dressed Oprah and other Chicago socialites, but her business has suffered due to ''increasing economic challenges and soft buying trends at the top end of the apparel market," she said.

''After 20 years of pursuing my greatest passion and striving to build a successful high-end fashion business, the time has come for a new chapter in my life.''

Pinto launched her namesake line in 1991, took a two-year break around 2000, relaunched in 2004 and opened her first shop in 2008. She was even tapped to design the first lady and Valerie Jarrett's Olympic delegation ensembles.

Check out these pictures of Michelle wearing Pinto's dresses and images of Pinto's last fashion week presentation.

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