Maria Luisa, the internationally renowned buyer, has died
Among the most renowned buyers in the world, Maria Luisa Poumaillou died late Tuesday morning having lost a long battle with cancer.
Born in Venezuela in the 1950s, Maria Luisa grew up in a middle-class family in Caracas, visiting fashion houses and attending fashion shows with her mother before hastily leaving the country at the age of 7, following the overthrow of the military dictatorship in place at the time - her stepfather, the head of National Security forced to leave his position within the regime of dictator Jimenez.
Enrolling in Paris' Sciences Po, Maria Luisa developed a passion for ready-to-wear and married a Spaniard before returning to Venezuela for a few years. The journey was short, punctuated by a second marriage, a return to Paris, and two children.
It was at the end of the 1980s, with the help of her husband Daniel, that she decided to open a multibrand store dedicated to young designers on Rue Cambon (1st arrondissement) in Paris, followed by a store on Rue du Mont-Thabor (originally three sections - one for men and women, one for men, and another for footwear - eventually all brought together).
For two decades, she discovered the great talents of tomorrow, from Martin Margiela to Rick Owens via Helmut Lang, John Galliano, Martine Sitbon, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicolas Ghesquière, Christopher Kane, Riccardo Tisci and Alexander McQueen, becoming one of the leading figures of Parisian and international fashion.
The adventure lasted 20 years, the stores on Rue Cambon and Mount Tabor Street permanently closing in 2010, although the e-shop remained active through a partnership with Thecorner.com, until Maria Luisa accepted the position of Fashion Editor at Printemps.
A single title - that of buyer-editor - earned her her own space at Printemps department store as well as a Maria Luisa Marriage section in 2012.
In 2013, Maria Luisa also opened several multibrand stores in China through a partnership with China's Malzy, in Shanghai and Beijing, as well as in Qatar, in Doha. An eponymous ready-to-wear line was also launched in China.
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