Still stylish after 75 years: the SAIC fashion design program. (From left) seniors Kyung-Ah Yoon, Jessica Rodriguez, and Madeleine Sywulak
In 1934, in the heart of the Great Depression, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago started a fashion design program. Unemployment was 21 percent, but the nighttime classes, led by Cornelia Steckl, then the house designer for Marshall Field’s, quickly caught on. “So much wonderful fashion was created during the 1930s,” says Andrea Reynders, the program’s current chair. “People went to movies to escape, and they saw the fashions of Hollywood. Fashion offered a hint of hope.” This April, the department celebrates its 75th anniversary, and there’s plenty to fête: a new home on the seventh floor of the former Carson Pirie Scott building; the addition of a master’s degree program; and fresh attention for a rock-star alum, Maria Pinto, who has dressed Michelle Obama. The school will honor Pinto on April 23rd; the next day, 17 seniors will send their creations down a 750-foot runway. The latter is arguably the city’s best fashion event, which is why it typically lures stylistas such as Ikram Goldman and, like a concert, sells out. ticketmaster.com. For info, call 312-629-6710.
Photograph By Andreas Larsson
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