Details Take Shape for SAIC Fashion 2012

Tickets on sale now at; Legendary Paper magazine Editorial Director Mickey Boardman and renowned critic Jerry Saltz set to participate in THE WALK 2012 benefit gala

CHICAGO—Tickets are still available for the fashion event that started the careers of such distinguished SAIC alumni as Halston, Maria Pinto, Lawrence Steele, and Cynthia Rowley. The 78th annual fashion show at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Fashion 2012, will bring more than 300 original garments to a tented venue in beautiful Millennium Park on Thursday, April 19. The show will be presented three times throughout the day before a final evening presentation during THE WALK 2012, SAIC's annual benefit gala supporting student scholarships and student work.

Tickets to the 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. shows are available via Information on purchasing tickets to the evening gala, which traditionally sell out well in advance, is also available on the site. A limited number of walk-up tickets to daytime shows will be available on April 19 by credit card and check.

At THE WALK 2012, SAIC Fashion Design alumna Cynthia Rowley, creator of the renowned fashion label bearing her name, and her husband Bill Powers, co-owner of HALF Gallery and judge on Bravo TV's competition reality series "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," will be honored with the 2012 SAIC Legend of Fashion Award. Paper magazine Editorial Director Mickey Boardman will serve as the evening's emcee. Adjunct SAIC faculty member Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York magazine and fellow judge with Powers on "Work of Art," will present the award to the couple.

"As an alumna of SAIC this award has a very special meaning to me and Bill. We both believe that a marriage between fashion and art is something to strive for in the 21st century, and we hope that future fashion and design students continue to draw inspiration from both the runway and the gallery," says Cynthia Rowley.

Fashion 2012 delivers all the elements of a professional fashion runway show—stunning design, intriguing soundscapes, exquisite garments, and cutting-edge looks—by incorporating and combining techniques from the fields of sculpture, performance, design, technology, architecture, and installation. This year's show will display the elaborate and diverse creations of 40 seniors, the largest graduating class in SAIC Fashion Design history. Behind-the-scenes photos from students and other insights into their creative process are coming soon at

Seniors in SAIC's acclaimed Fashion Design department will create complete collections of five garments; Juniors will show three complete designs from their collection; and each Sophomore will present one avant-garde look in white and silver. The runway will literally sparkle this year as a special selection of students incorporate Swarovski crystals into their designs, made possible by Swarovski's presenting sponsorship of THE WALK 2012.

At each presentation on April 19, more than 70 models from Factor Runway will wear designs down an 80-foot runway inside a 15,000-square-foot tent on Chase Promenade, a three-block-long, tree-lined walkway centrally located in Millennium Park. Hairstyling is provided by Aveda Institute Chicago; make-up services are provided by Chicago Emerging Artists, with assistance from THE WALK 2012 Haute Couture Sponsor Maybelline New York. Capitalizing on the success of Fashion 2011, Creative Director of Brooklyn-based WAAVES Studio Skooby Laposky—a past collaborator with designers including Gemma Kahng, Conny Groenewegen, and Jason Wu—will again lend his creative expertise to the sound and musical accompaniment that serves as the backdrop for the show.

Fashion 2012 is produced by SAIC faculty member Conrad Hamather, Graduate Coordinator of the Master of Design in Fashion, Body, and Garment program. The full day of events is one of several significant year-end happenings at SAIC, which also hosts the annual Graduate Exhibition in SAIC's Sullivan Galleries April 28–May 16.


SAIC adjunct faculty member Jerry Saltz will honor SAIC Fashion Design alumna Cynthia Rowley and her husband Bill Powers with the SAIC Legend of Fashion Award at THE WALK 2012, the annual scholarship benefit gala held in conjunction with the fashion show that last year raised more than $167,000 for student scholarships and led to internships at J.Crew and Proenza Schouler for graduating seniors. Saltz, formerly the senior editor for the Village Voice, has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism three times, and is currently a columnist and the senior art critic at New York magazine. In addition to teaching at SAIC, Saltz has been a visiting critic at the School of Visual Arts, Columbia University, Yale University, and the New York Studio Residency Program. Saltz's unique perspectives on the art world and his connection to Powers through their work together on "Work of Art" lend a special and personal element to the award presentation this year. Previous recipients of the SAIC Legend of Fashion Award include Maria Pinto (SAIC BFA 1990), Gary Graham (SAIC BFA 1992), and Chicago clothier Ikram Goldman.

As a unique component to the event this year Rowley and Powers will present special awards to talented SAIC students. "Chicago has an incredibly vibrant and thriving scene where art, fashion, and culture at large fuse together," says Bill Powers. "The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) continues to introduce artists from Jeff Koons to Rashid Johnson into the larger 'art world' and wouldn't you know it: they both got their start as students at SAIC."

Each year the generous support raised at THE WALK has helped launch the careers of aspiring SAIC fashion students. Recent examples include Erin Pianetto (BFA 2011), who is following in the footsteps of fellow Barrington High School graduate Cynthia Rowley. After winning the Sage Foundation Scholarship in 2010, Pianetto spent 2011 interning at J. Crew in New York City, and is currently an intern at youth fashion brand Osh Kosh. 2011 Eunice W. Johnson Fellowship winner Liz Patelski (BFA 2012) and fellow alumna Lisa Rigney (BFA 2012, 2010 Nick Cave Award, THE WALK Scholarship 2010) are collaborating on a new line here in Chicago. Their uniforms for the new Chicago restaurant Nellcôte were featured in the March issue of CS magazine.

The Fashion 2012 daytime show will be presented three times on Thursday, April 19:

9:00 a.m. is a general admission dress rehearsal. Tickets are $40.
12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. shows are also general admission seating. Tickets are $75.
Tickets to the 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. shows are on sale now.

Advance tickets are available online only via

A limited number of walk-up tickets for the 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. shows will be available on the day of the shows payable by credit card and check only.

THE WALK 2012 begins with a cocktail welcome at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 19. Preceding the evening's runway show, the presentation of the SAIC Legend of Fashion Award to Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers is followed by the announcement of individual student awards and scholarships. The event concludes with an elegant post-show dinner on the rooftop terrace of Millennium Park's Harris Theater. Tickets start at $500.

Call 312.499.4190 for tickets, tables, sponsorships, and more information about THE WALK

THE WALK 2012 is generously supported by Presenting Sponsors Swarovski and the MacLean-Fogg Company. Additional support is provided by: Haute Couture Sponsors Maybelline New York, Park Hyatt Chicago, and the Sage Foundation; Avant Garde Sponsor Exelon; and Prêt-à-Porter sponsors Ariel Investments, Equinox, Macy's, and Mesirow Financial. CS Magazine is the Exclusive Media Sponsor. Food and Beverage partners are Alain's Restaurant Chicago, Blue Plate, and Moët & Chandon Champagne.

"Swarovski is proud to renew its support of SAIC's THE WALK and student scholarships again this year," said Wayne Page, Executive Vice President of Swarovski North America. "We are excited to see how students will be inspired by Swarovski jewelry when bringing their creations to the runway." Margaret MacLean, Vice President of MacLean-Fogg International, said, "I continue to be inspired by the creative minds of the SAIC fashion design students. THE WALK provides a forum to showcase individual talent on a global scale and celebrate the designers of the future."

Fashion 2012 Production Partners are Aveda Institute Chicago, Chicago Emerging Artists, Factor Runway, and Frost.

Fashion 2012 Related Events

Swarovski Michigan Avenue Window Installation
Swarovski Store, 540 N. Michigan Ave.
On view beginning April 9
A presenting sponsor of THE WALK 2012, Swarovski, the Austrian company known for its luxury crystals, will extend its partnership with SAIC past the runway. Students and Faculty from SAIC's Master of Design program in Fashion, Body, and Garment will use the company's signature jewels to create and install a window display at the Swarovski store at 540 North Michigan Avenue. Combining principals of sculpture, architecture, design, and fashion under the creative direction of Fashion Design chair Nick Cave and fellow faculty members, the students will take part in building the installation on April 8.

Lecture and Conversation
Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby of Boudicca
SAIC Fashion Resource Center
36 S. Wabash Ave., room 735
Thursday, April 12, 6:00 p.m.
Tickets are $20 or $10 with SAIC/AIC ID
SAIC's Fashion Resource Center presents Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby of the London-based design team Boudicca. Recognized for its integrity, depth of design, and attention to detail, Boudicca collections are deeply researched and intended to express the wearer's feelings and emotion. The fashion designers will deliver an intimate look into their design research, experimentation, and concept development. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 312.629.6731 or email

AIADO and Fashion Graduate Exhibition
Sullivan Galleries
33 S. State Street, 7th floor
June 9–July 21
Reception: Monday, June 11, 4:30–7:00 p.m.
Showcasing design from the Departments of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects, and Fashion, this exhibition brings together thesis work by graduating students that explores recent innovations in material, technology, fashion, and form.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Fashion program provides a creative and intellectual context in which the nature and potential of fashion is closely examined and reimagined. Uniquely situated within a vibrant contemporary school of art and design, SAIC's Fashion department offers undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate fashion programs that build on the connections and relationships between art and fashion that have been evolving in the past century and that reach an unprecedented level in contemporary practices today.

SAIC's Fashion program is housed within the Sage Studios for Fashion Design located in the historic Carson Pirie Scott building. The 25,000-square-foot studio space includes the Fashion Resource Center, a hands-on collection of late-20th- and 21st-century designer garments and accessories representing extreme innovation, which allows SAIC students the opportunity to explore the most progressive achievements in the world of dress and fashion.

The success of SAIC's Fashion Design program and SAIC's interdisciplinary approach to education is reflected in a list of alumni that includes such notable designers as Halston, Cynthia Rowley, Lawrence Steele, J. Morgan Puett, Eunwha Kim, Maria Pinto, Gary Graham, and Matthew Ames. SAIC graduates hold senior design positions in firms as varied as Yeohlee, Jones New York, Levi's, Nike, Charles Chang-Lima, and Tommy Hilfiger, and design for Anna Sui, Calvin Klein, Tiffani Kim, Betsey Johnson, Triple Five Soul, and Moschino. Upon graduating, many have chosen to intern for international houses such as Viktor & Rolf, Alexander McQueen, Wendy & Jim, JC de Castelbajac, Zac Posen, threeASFOUR, and William Ivey Long or to launch their own fashion lines. The current chair of SAIC's Fashion Design department is critically acclaimed designer Nick Cave. For more information, please visit

The fashion events on April 19 are the launch of an unparalleled year-end lineup of artistic and cultural events at SAIC. A host of year-end exhibitions will be featured on and off campus, including ARTBASH 2012: Contemporary Practices Exhibition, April 14–27; Graduate Exhibition, April 28–May 16; and the AIADO and Fashion Graduate Exhibition/Post-Baccalaureate Studio Exhibition, June 9–July 21. SAIC's undergraduate and graduate performance students present their thesis work at the Performance Festival on April 1 and April 28–29. Concurrent with THE WALK 2012 is the Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies Symposium, in conjunction with an exhibition at Autumn Space Gallery. Other symposia featuring the latest research from SAIC's graduating scholars include the Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Liberal Arts Symposium on April 28; the Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism Graduate Symposium May 3–4; and the Art Education Graduate Symposium and Apprentice Teaching Event and Reception on May 9 and 10. The Undergraduate and Graduate Film, Video, New Media, Animation, and Sound Festival showcases the next generation of film, video, and new media artists May 9–11 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. More information is available at

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit

Download Release (printer-friendly version): Details Take Shape for SAIC Fashion 2012.

Nick Cave, Professor and Chair of the SAIC Department of Fashion Design, with THE WALK 2012 Co-Chairs Kate Neisser and John Jones. Photo by Sara Condo

Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)