A legendary homecoming for Cynthia Rowley
Chicago Thursday 4-19-12 Bill Powers, left, and Cynthia Rowley, share a moment after School of the Art Institute president, Dr. Walter Massey, presented an achievement award to them after the SAIC fashion show Thursday evening 4-19-12. | Kevin Tanaka~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:20AM
Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley hit Chicago April 19 to accept the School of the Art Institute’s Legend of Fashion Award.
The honor was bestowed not only on Rowley, but on her husband, Bill Powers, an art gallery owner and judge on Bravo’s “Work of Art.” The former Barringtonian used her time at the podium to offer advice to the SAIC’s graduating class of 2012.
“This is my dream come true,” Rowley said upon receiving the award from her alma mater. And the designer, known not only for her feminine clothes, but also for her upbeat charms, had plenty of Rowley-isms to share: “Be good at the business side. Say yes to everything. Be grateful for everything. Enthusiasm is contagious.”
But the most valuable advice?
“Fake it till you make it,” she said without a hint of irony.
The New York power couple spent the rest of the evening chatting with guests at the strolling dinner on the rooftop of the Harris Theater.
Prior to the event, Rowley answered several questions Trend posed via email. How do you feel about receiving a Legend of Fashion Award from your alma mater?
How do you feel about receiving a Legend of Fashion Award from your alma mater?
What do you think the SAIC offers its fashion students?
The Art Institute is special because it’s an art school with a fashion department, so the emphasis is on being as creative as possible. Having Nick Cave at the head of the fashion department is major.
What did you like most about growing up in Barrington?
It was more rural than it is now. As a kid it was the idyllic small-town upbringing — Girl Scouts, a tree house and marching band. In high school things got a little wilder. We used to call it “Beerington” because we’d drive out to the cornfields with kegs.
You recently told the New York Times you were looking forward to taking the family to see the cornfields. Where are you heading?
We’re driving south through Illinois to St. Louis for my friend’s 30th birthday party, with a stop in Springfield so we can bore the kids to death with Abe Lincoln trivia.
Do you have places you hit on your trips home to Barrington?
I like to take in a movie at Catlow Theatre. It’s such a historic, beautiful theater. As a kid I saw everything from “Mary Poppins” to “Star Wars.”