Driehaus Fashion Awards shine for the 19th time

Sat. May 18, 2024 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Richard Herman Driehaus was a Chicago-based businessman with an eye on fashion. His philanthropy activities included a foundation with a focus on culture, architecture and the arts.

He was born in the Windy City and received a master's from DePaul University.

Although he passed away in 2021 at age 78, his legacy lives on with the annual Driehaus Fashion Awards honoring young professional designers.

After taking a hiatus following his death and the pandemic, the awards show returned on May 16 at a new venue, 21c Museum Hotel on Ontario Street. For three hours attendees were treated to visually stunning work from design students and the top three winners were given monetary compensation.

The scheduled designers were vetted previously and selected from Columbia College Chicago, Dominican University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Open bars with libations kicked off the festivities and Lure Fishbar provided passed appetizers. Guests then sat on both sides of the runway to view the models wearing creations from each designer.

The three judges perched at the end of the runway were Project Runway's Peach Carr, Roscoe Couture's Mark Roscoe and Neiman Marcus' Wendy Krimins.

Hostesses for the presentation were Linda Yu and Sylvia Perez, who introduced the Driehaus Design Initiative accompanied by video vignettes to give an overall picture of Richard's visions over the years.

The collections included a wide range of wearable clothing and artistic accessories to accompany many of the sleek designs.

While the judges debated, a previous Driehaus model, Kenny Braasch, was interviewed by Perez on the microphone in front of the crowd and asked about his experience on the reality competition show The Bachelorette. His wife, whom he met on Bachelor in Paradise, Mari Pepin joined him onstage to chat a bit more about the show with the two emcees.

Longtime Driehaus supporter Mira Couture presented several examples of her work and sponsors were thanked for their various contributions.

Alexandra Seward and Brianna Yang were announced to be among the winners and Jules Gourley took home the first-place trophy. Overall, the innovative students presented many inspired looks during the programming at the newly invigorated fashion show.

The event ended with a gathering of attendees on the runway to toast to Richard's memory and the fashion footprint he has left behind. 

Visit for future fashionable announcements and explore for more on the Richard H. Driehaus Museum.