Cynthia Rowley Does It All
Style maven, designer, and art connoisseur—what truly inspires this inexhaustible mom
Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley has been a style authority for over 20 years. With an empire that ranges from women’s wear and boots to fluorescent wetsuits and sequined Band-Aids, the mother of two (and self-declared fan of “really high heels”) is one of the most prominent designers today. For her own style, she pulls together “favorite pieces from different collections,” and is known to carry two handbags—a clutch within a tote—at once. She’s got it all figured out.
Rowley points to contemporary art as a key inspiration. “I can’t help but feel influenced by the art world,” she says. Her husband, Bill Powers, runs the prominent Half Gallery on the Lower East Side, and Rowley herself cofounded ExhibitionA.com, a one-stop shop for affordable, limited edition prints. As the designer states on the website’s blog (which also features the likes of auctioneer and television personality Simon de Pury), “I’ve learned that collecting art is actually easy…and addictive (in a good way)!”
Rowley may be in cahoots with art world A-listers, but she’s most inspired by the creative makings of her own daughters—Kit, 12, and Gigi, 7. Like any stylish mom, she has her favorite children’s stores (Zara Kids and Makie in SoHo among them), but she always lets her girls pick out their own outfits. “They’re still pretty young, and I love their adventurous spirits...Generally they’re jeans and sneakers girls, but they mix it up with vintage pieces, and even things from my closet! For kids, getting dressed is a high form of self-expression.” —Lucie Alig
Read about Elizabeth Street on Cynthia's Blog.