By Wendy Donahue
May 4, 2012
Before Barrington native Cynthia Rowley earned fame as a fashion designer, she endured a phase of infamy at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
“I actually got booted out of my junior show — not that I’m still holding a grudge or anything,” Rowley said. (Citing a clash with faculty over the exuberant wings she attached to her junior-year designs, she said, “I was very strong-willed.”)
Rebounding her senior year, Rowley won the school’s fellowship award. Instead of flying to Italy for an internship with the money, as she had proposed, she rented a U-Haul and moved to New York with her senior collection.
Three decades later, her alma mater invited Rowley back, along with her husband Bill Powers, co-owner of Half Gallery and a judge on Bravo’s “Work of Art,” to accept the SAIC’s first dual Legend of Fashion honor at Millennium Park during this year’s “The Walk ” student fashion show and fundraiser.