No—not that Nick Cave. Our Nick Cave!

Photo of Nick Cave, the head of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's fashion design department
Cave, not to be confused with this guy

FASHION Last week, I put on my go-to luncheon outfit (Urban Outfitters dress, vintage Burberry jacket, lace-up black boots) and went to lunch at Terzo Piano with Nick Cave (right), the head of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fashion Design Department, and Wellington "Duke" Reiter, the president of the school. The pair were a study in contrast: Cave, a fashion designer and artist at heart, wore a brown patterned sweater with two neck-sized holes—one at the neck, the other placed bizarrely mid-chest—and Reiter, an architect and administrator, wore a suit. There were eight other style writers there, and we were assembled to hear Cave and Reiter talk up the fashion department’s annual runway show, the tickets for which have just gone on sale.

They didn’t really have to push it: It’s the city’s best runway show, hands-down, and everybody sitting around the table knew it. Adding to the cachet this year is the fact that the show will be held for the first time in the Modern Wing; they’re honoring SAIC alum Gary Graham (a finalist for the prestigious 2009 Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund award), who will send some of his own designs down the runway; and they’re adding a late-night (10 p.m.) component with an open bar for the younger crowd. All the necessary information out of the way, Cave let drop a few choice tidbits: The school will dedicate next year’s show—2011’s—to Ikram Goldman, the owner of the city’s chicest boutique and the secret wardrobe assembler for the First Lady, Michelle Obama (Goldman declined to be honored this year because she will be out of the country during the event). Cave also mentioned that he’s thinking about opening a lifestyle store sometime in the near future. "Everything would be for sale—the furniture, the garments, everything," he said. No word on timing or location.

GO: The SAIC fashion show is May 7th. $75-$100. 312-899-7484 or

  • This year, some lucky School of the Art Institute senior will receive $25,000 from Johnson Publishing to start his or her own fashion line, in honor of Eunice Johnson, the widow of the founder of Ebony magazine. The announcement, as reported in the Chicago Tribune.


Photograph: James Prinz