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posted: 3/13/2010 12:01 AM

Fave designer of first lady to close shop

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The economic recession has claimed a high-profile fashion victim -- the boutique store of one of first lady Michelle Obama's favorite designers.

The Chicago Tribune reports Maria Pinto's store in Chicago will close after a five-day sale that starts Tuesday. Some items will be 70 percent off.

Mrs. Obama has worn Maria Pinto designs to several important events during her husband's political career. That included the night she spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

Other celebrities have also worn Pinto's clothes, including talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

Pinto says her boutique's done fairly well but that sales to retailers were waning. Pinto says she won't get back into fashion right away. Instead, she plans to pursue another passion this summer -- painting.

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