In 2009, former Saks fashion director Michael Fink traded his New York life for the balmy climate of Savannah, Georgia to take on a position as the Dean of the School of Fashion Design at SCAD. At SCAD, Fink is both a mentor to emerging design talents and the person responsible for attracting a rotating circuit of visiting professionals in the field—the perfect job for this great collector and connoisseur of fashion and the arts. Read more about Fink and his most treasured possession, a vintage chia—sculpted stone animal head—here.
Tell us how you came to own this precious object.
“I purchased my chia at a Paris flea market. Besides the kitsch value, I just love knowing that chia heads have been around for quite awhile. This one piece pushed me into the dizzying world of vintage chia heads and collecting them.”
How do you live with your heirloom?
“Chia and his other chia head friends are prominently displayed in my dining room. They’re especially eerie in candlelight.”
What in your life has most influenced your personal style?
“Old Hollywood movies, especially musicals. Think: men in impeccably tailored suits with just the right amount of shirt cuff showing, tie clips, pocket squares, boutonnieres and wing-tip shoes, gliding around the dance floor. I’m so old-fashioned!”
Fill in the blank. Whenever I look at ____________, I can’t help but smile.
“My partner Andy! After 23 years together he still puts up with all of my crazy ideas.”
What’s the best part of your day?
“The morning is the best part of my day. I’m up first and early. I make the same breakfast everyday, and then do the New York Times crossword puzzle. I love doing the puzzle. I never share it. I can’t even leave the house until I’ve done it. It’s the only ‘me’ time of the day I get.”
What was the most memorable gift you’ve given?
“I invited a small group of my best friends to celebrate my 50th birthday with me. I flew everyone to Provincetown, Massachusetts. The chilly October weekend was perfectly moody with ocean mist and wood burning fireplaces and lots of laughing and port.”
What was your last purchase that you believe will mean something to you in 10 years?
“We’re buying a Victorian fixer-upper here in Savannah. There’s a roof and that’s about it. If we can get through this process, I’m imagining there will be tons of stories and memories to last at least 10 years. And I’m building a special display case for the chias!”