French fashion buyer Maria Luisa, who championed Galliano and McQueen, dies

Active in China, Maria Luisa Poumaillou was known for her visionary taste and her shop in Paris' rue Cambon was a must-visit address for 20 years

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 April, 2015, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 April, 2015, 5:39pm


More on this story

Influential French fashion buyer Maria Luisa Poumaillou, known for her early backing of future stars like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, died on Monday at age 61, her entourage said on Wednesday.

Passionate about young designers, the Venezuelan-born tastemaker made her eponymous shop Maria Luisa on rue Cambon in Paris a must-visit address in the fashion world during its two-decade run.

The woman with visionary taste was an early fan of names including Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Riccardo Tisci, Christopher Kane but also Nicolas Ghesquiere and J.W. Anderson.

She came to France at age seven, the child of Venezuelan political refugees, and decades later opened her famous boutique in 1988.

Now closed, her shop paved the way for her online retailing and sales at the massive Parisian department store Printemps, where she had been a fashion consultant since 2010. Her company, run by her husband, Daniel Poumaillou, is also present in China and Qatar.

On a visit to Hong Kong in 2011, she told the South China Morning Post: "I respect designers who have an identity. You need to be setting rather than following trends. Ask Nicholas Ghesquiere about the latest trends and he wouldn't have a clue."

She “knew how to discern what was really new, she knew how to buy it and she knew how to sell it to a clientele that became captive to her taste and enthusiasm”, said Stephane Wargnier, executive chairman of a French fashion union.

“She started the career of a number of the major talents from these past 30 years,” he added.

Ghesquiere, artistic director of Vuitton’s womens collections, wrote on Instagram: “I will always remember your keen eye, your joy and your generosity. You opened doors for a lot of us.”

Additional reporting by Jing Zhang