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Linda Johnson Rice Judges SAIC Fashion Student Collections; Picks Winner of the $25,000 Eunice W. Johnson Fellowship

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Yesterday afternoon, Linda Johnson Rice, the grande dame of Johnson Publishing Company, paid a visit to the School of the Art Institute’s Sage Studios for Fashion Design and handpicked this year’s $25,000 Eunice W. Johnson Fellowship winner. Rice, who was joined by Marilyn Fields, Chair of THE WALK 2011 Presented by Swarovski scholarship benefit gala, and Katrin Schnabl, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design, carefully surveyed the works by six accomplished seniors in the SAIC fashion program—Julia Covintree, Andrea Creighton, Ryan Goldner, Liz Patelski, Erin Pianetto, and Lisa Rigney—and mulled over their decision by discussing the students’ concepts, designs, and trying on some of the garments.

In order to compete for this year’s prize, 16 students with the SAIC fashion program were asked to come up with four mood boards each. Preliminary input from faculty, co-chairs, and the School's development department further narrowed down to six finalists, resulting in the production of their five-piece collection inspired by the boards.

The fellowship was established last year in honor of Rice's mother and Ebony Fashion Fair founder, producer, and director Eunice W. Johnson (1916-2010), and complements the John and Eunice Johnson Scholarship for the SAIC that was founded in 1983. The winner will be revealed during THE WALK on Thursday evening, after a daylong series of fashion shows in Millennium Park.

The students:

Julia Covintree, a 2010 Gladys Pick Fashion Scholarship winner, developed an NYC-inspired collection with bits and pieces of hip hop/Jean-Michel Basquiat//1970s/1980s thrown in to the mix: gold foiled leather coat, printed tee, blue puff painted drop crotch trackies; multicolored shoelace printed sweatshirt, gold printed green drop crotch trackies, printed tee; and purple scribble print on orange metallic bat wing track jacket and drop crotch trackies, printed tee are some of the examples.

Andrea Creighton, a 2010 Albert Pick, Jr. Scholarship winner, describes her collection as a response to keywords such as “growth, pressure, response, and self-control.” Her creations include red crepe dress with tiered front and side drapes, paint splatter cotton and midnight blue organza jacket, peach chiffon floor length flare skirt; lilac organza shirt with see through crochet, peach linen and silk crepe shorts; and yellow, floral patterned dress with tiered back, blue silk
satin organza jacket.

Ryan Goldner, a recipient of 2010 Shirley G. Schnackenberg Student Grant in Fashion Design, imagined the future of technology, where garments offer unique protection and enhancements to the body, and hinted at these ideas through shape and fabric. Goldner conceptualized a collection that includes pieces such as silver/nylon fabric jacket with pure copper taffeta detailing, ripstop silver fabric dress with silver coated sheer nylon side panels, and green and gold linen coat with nickel/copper coated polyester and clear plastic woven vest, stretch conductive fabric bodysuit mixed with yellow and gray spandex.

Liz Patelski imagined exploring the city at night, and coming across a gritty, glittery landscape populated by residents who feel alienated, deserted, and free. Highlights of her collection includes black metallic herringbone wool chenille coat, antique gold and steel gray velvet burnout button-up shirt, navy wool and blue organza paneled straight pant; navy wool back satin capeletse, gold distressed printed draped top, olive green draped skirt; and olive green and gold patterned metallic wool chenille cape, antique gold distressed chiffon top, gray wool dress.

Erin Pianetto, a 2010 Sage Foundation Scholarship winner, found the inspiration for her collection during a study program to Paris—when she experienced traumatic night terrors throughout her entire trip. Her collection, based off of the loose gowns children with night terrors are encouraged to wear, was born after these sleepness nights. “This information led me to 1950’s imagery of paper dolls and heavily embellished nightgowns. The idea of lucid dreaming and dressing in the dark illustrates this feeling of disconnection from one’s self,” she says.

Lisa Rigney’s collection of menswear, titled “From Inuit to Hick; Essential to Recreational,” references the evolution of ice fishing in the United States. She describes the designs as envisioning a folk character that embodies the paradox of the sport itself—referencing workwear with material such as denim, waxed cotton canvas, nylon, and flannel, with a mix of traditional Inuit pattern cutting. Rigney is a 2010 Nick Cave Award, and 2010 THE WALK Scholarship winner.

· The School of the Art Institute of Chicago [Official Site]
· Johnson Publishing Company [Official Site]