Artistic Achievement

The winner of the 8th annual Art of Fashion design competition is announced

By Noela Hueso

Charlotte Ballard, a graduate costume design student at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), was named the winner of the Timken Museum of Art's eighth annual Art of Fashion competition and was presented with a $5,000 scholarship at a gala fundraiser dinner in San Diego on Monday, April 20.

As part of a Fall 2014 history of costume design course taught by Lecturer Paul Girard and Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis, founding director of the UCLA TFT David C. Copley Center for Costume Design, 10 graduate costume designers created half-scale costumes inspired by French artist Claude-Joseph Vernet's 1749 "A Seaport at Sunset," which is part of the Timken's permanent collection. The students were tasked with infusing a certain element of the masterwork, a depiction of an idealized Mediterranean seaport, into each of their designs. Ballard, however, took a different approach and chose to focus on an element that wasn't actually in the painting, but was implied — an essential navigational tool called an astrolabe.

"An astrolabe would have been integral in determining the trade routes that established the connection between [the] Mediterranean haven [depicted in the painting] and the Dutch ports the ships [in the painting] call home," Ballard wrote in her statement of inspiration. "There would have been one on board each ship and perhaps among the closely held possessions of the crowd at the port."

More than 200 fashion enthusiasts from throughout Southern California attended the Art of Fashion gala, chaired by veteran designer Dame Zandra Rhodes, which raised funds in support of the museum's outreach programs.

Prior to the evening celebration, Rhodes and an honorary committee judged the designs at a private luncheon in the museum, which included remarks by Professor Landis, who revealed the competition criteria and discussed each design. 

Last year, two UCLA TFT graduate costume design students, Adam Alonso and Caitlin Doolittle, were announced as the winners of Art of Fashion 2014: A Design Competition. Their designs were inspired by Thomas Gainsborough's "A Peasant Smoking at a Cottage Door," which was on extended loan from UCLA's  Hammer Museum and featured in the Timken exhibit "Object Lessons: Gainsborough, Corot, and the Landscape of Nostalgia."

For more information about the Copley Center, please click here.

Posted: April 30, 2015