Barrington rolling out red carpet for hometown fashion star Cynthia Rowley

 
 
Updated 5/16/2018 6:20 AM
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  • Barrington will be celebrating "Cynthia Rowley Week" from May 29 through June 2. She'll be in her hometown for events on June 1 and 2. Here, she attends a special screening of "Irrational Man" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2015.

    Barrington will be celebrating "Cynthia Rowley Week" from May 29 through June 2. She'll be in her hometown for events on June 1 and 2. Here, she attends a special screening of "Irrational Man" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2015. Associated Press, 2015

  • This poster will be going up across Barrington to promote "Cynthia Rowley Week" running from May 29 through June 2. Barrington is Rowley's hometown.

      This poster will be going up across Barrington to promote "Cynthia Rowley Week" running from May 29 through June 2. Barrington is Rowley's hometown. Jeff Knox | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Olympic team skier Lindsey Vonn was wearing a Cynthia Rowley dress during a Fashion Week event in New York in 2014. Rowley will be celebrated in her hometown Barrington from May 29 through June 2.

    U.S. Olympic team skier Lindsey Vonn was wearing a Cynthia Rowley dress during a Fashion Week event in New York in 2014. Rowley will be celebrated in her hometown Barrington from May 29 through June 2. Associated Press, 2014

If you're a fan of fashion, chances are you've seen some of famed designer Cynthia Rowley's work on the red carpet and her appearances on shows such as "Project Runway" and "America's Next Top Model."

Now, her hometown Barrington is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for her.

Barrington's White House, the village's cultural and community center, will be the beneficiary of "Cynthia Rowley Week" from May 29 through June 2. The village's celebration will begin with the opening of a Rowley pop-up shop at the White House on Main Street and conclude with three events.

Former Barrington Village President David Nelson is the connection to Rowley. She grew up in Nelson's former neighborhood and he's kept in touch with her and her parents over the years.

Nelson, a member of the village's cultural commission, called Rowley late last year to inquire if she'd be up for Barrington publicly celebrating her achievements as White House fundraisers. She seemed hesitant at first, but eventually agreed and will time the celebration with a visit to her folks, Ed and Clem, Nelson said.

"When I went to her originally, I said, 'You know, you've done a great job, you grew up in this community, you come home to see your parents ... We'd love to give you a key to the city and highlight what you've done,'" Nelson said.

Linda Hovde, volunteer chair of the "Cynthia Rowley Week" committee and a member of Barrington's cultural commission, said work on the event began early this year. Hovde, assisted by about a dozen committee members, is heading an effort that includes coordinating with Rowley's management team, catering two events, marketing, music and other details.

"We wanted it to be nice," Hovde said. "She's doing us a favor."

All net proceeds from the weekend and 10 percent of pop-up shop sales will go toward the nonprofit Friends of Barrington's White House organization's effort to grow a capital reserve fund to ensure proper upkeep and preservation of the 120-year-old restored structure.

"The Cynthia Rowley event is actually our kickoff event," said Beth Raseman, whose firm handles management, marketing and communications for the White House. She added that "several thousand dollars" in donations have been made by people who can't attend the Rowley festivities.

Rowley's fashion creations will be available at the pop-up shop from May 29 through June 2. She'll arrive in Barrington June 1 for a champagne-and-dessert welcome reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the White House that'll cost $50.

She'll return to the White House at 11 a.m. June 2 for "A Conversation With Cynthia Rowley," which will be $20. Rounding out the fun from 7 to 10 p.m. that night will be a cocktail-and-dinner party feting Rowley for $500 apiece, also at the White House.

One of the highlights of the big-ticket evening is expected to be a live auction for a five-day Rowley fashion experience in New York, plus a special piece from her collection.

Rowley graduated from Barrington High School and attended the School of Art Institute of Chicago. With little money, she went to New York where she built an empire that includes branded collection boutiques and a presence in stores worldwide with women's and men's clothing, home furnishings, handbags, fitness apparel, fragrances, office supplies and shoes.

In addition, she's had exposure on "Project Runway," "America's Next Top Model." "Design Star" and other television programs.

However, Nelson said Rowley isn't into the fame.

"She's still a pretty modest girl that lived down the street," he said.

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