Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Art of Fashion: Timken Museum of Art

On the last weekend of September, I had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Art of Fashion at the Timken Museum of Art, here in San Diego's Balboa Park. The Art of Fashion is a collaboration between the Timken and Fashion Careers College (FCC). Students from FCC are invited to use art from the Timken's permanent collection as inspiration for clothing designs. Their designs are then showcased, in front of the art that inspired them, at the Art of Fashion. Proceeds from the Art of Fashion benefited the Timken Museum's art education programs.

Here are some of the amazing pieces created by the designers, worn by models, and sometimes posed with the designers themselves (please note this is a very photo-heavy post):

Art: Bartolomeo Veneto, Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress
Designer: Suzanne Lemasters
This ensemble is one of the six that were selected for exhibition at the Timken during the month of October.

Art: Philippe de Champaigne, Christ Healing the Blind
Designer: Sharlene Borromeo
The designer incorporated some very literal translations of imagery from the painting, into this dress. The bodice is made up of mountain peaks and aqueduct archways wrap around the waist.

Detail of hair and makeup; by Salon on 30th

The makeup on this model was so beautiful, I had to get a close-up of it, to share with you. Just amazing!

Art: Francois Clouet, Guy XVII, Comte de Laval
Designer: Charise Noelle Crawford
The designer of this outfit (somehow the word "outfit" seems inadequate, but I don't know what else I should be calling them) made the feathered headpiece herself. I loved the softness and texture it lent an otherwise simple and almost austere ensemble.

Art: Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, View of Volterra
Designer: Jasmine Johnson
I loved the back of this dress - it evoked the landscape featured in the painting perfectly, and the sheen of the fabrics really brought out the richness of foliage and rushing water beautifully.

Art: Benjamin West, Fidelia and Speranza
Designer: Camille Lim
There was something so elegant, simple, yet lush about this dress, that it caught my eye over and over again. Just beautiful!

Art: Raphael Peale, Cutlet and Vegetables
Designer: Jeffrey Parish
As weird as this dress is, it was definitely one of my favorites. The use of the red printed fabric to evoke the marbling of meat was just brilliant.

Art: Francois Boucher, Lovers in a Park
Designer: Hellen Magni Nitschke
This dress seemed to be a guest favorite, the night of the event, drawing lots of attention throughout the evening.

Art: Petrus Christus, Death of the Virgin
Designer: Heather Panetti
I thought this dress captured a playfulness in its shape and length that I really liked. And can I say I love how the designer coordinated her own outfit to the dress she created and the painting that inspired it?

Art: Frans Hals, Portrait of a Man
Designer: Ashley Tipton
This number grabbed a lot of attention with its dramatic "ruff" that was inspired by the stiff ruffled collar worn by the gentleman in the painting. There was something rather insect-like, about it, and I have to confess that I was seized with the desire to see what would happen should the dress be caught in a strong gale. Made me think of Theo Jansen's works (which I love).

Art: Kazan Mother of God
Designer: Arturo Mendez
This gown took up nearly the entire room that it was displayed in - the train was that long. I loved the colors here, and there was some really beautiful detailing at the high waist, with some sort of lace applique layered beneath the waistband. But my favorite thing about this was the shawl-like vest she's wearing over the dress. It was really gorgeous.

Tables in the galleries.
Along with the artwork and fashion, there was also a charity auction taking place, and lovely drinks and refreshments being served. I think this may be the only time I've ever eaten in an art know...nibbling on tasty hors d'oeuvres and sipping champagne while admiring paintings... (which leads me to this other sort of random thought - the Timken would probably be a fantastic venue for a smaller (but really nice) wedding).

Seating area on the patio. The Timken Museum opens in the back to the Lily Pond and other museums and buildings.

My own outfit for the evening.

Twilight over the Prado
Overall, it was a gorgeous event and I'm so glad I was able to attend. If you're local to San Diego or happen to be in town, I highly recommend you check out the Timken - it's a small, intimate sort of museum, and it has a really beautiful collection, which I am looking forward to perusing at leisure, sometime in the future. Admission to the museum is always free too, which is an added bonus, and as I mentioned before, some of the designs from Art of Fashion will be on exhibit during the month of October. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Carol, this post and exhibition are just  fantastic. I really liked those two works (#6 ,#7): dresses inspired by:Benjamin West "Fidelia and Speranza" and Raphael Peale "Cutlet and Vegetables" - dress inspired by piece of meat..? hmm...Looks fantastic!

    And thar dress with "wing" inspired by collar- very impressive.
    I wish I could see that in real, but as it is not possible thanks for that post :)

  2. This is so Aww Inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing this - it really makes me want to soak up some culture and art and head out to my own museum. Carol you look so beautiful in that outfit. May I ask what shoes you are wearing? Those are fabulous!

  3. Jamie_ThriftyThreadsOctober 12, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    This sounds like a wonderful exhibit.  How inspiring to see such gorgeous dresses in close proximity.  My brother and his GF go to school in San Diego, and I'll have to let them know about it.  I'm jealous I don't live closer, or else I would definitely check it out.  Thanks so much for this awe-inspiring post, Carol.  

    And your dress looks just perfect for the event!  The burnout effect is so pretty and the shape suits you perfectly.

  4. This is SO cool...thanks for sharing!  Loving that dress on you, too.

  5. This is such an incredible idea.. what talent!!

  6. Oh, I love when designers are inspired by art. I think I like Heather Panetti's design the best. You also looked fabulous Carol. That is the perfect dress to be wearing while sipping Champagne in a gallery and experiencing sunsets in Balboa Park. You are one lucky lady!

  7. gosh- what an amazing project- I want to try!!!  I love the subtlety and wit of the meat dress and the "maxi-me" cuteness of Heather Panetti with her model!  And I love the way you are mimicking the wrought-iron railing with your lace dress!

  8. carol_prettythingsOctober 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Thanks, Ana! I'm wearing some Lanvin pumps from last year. They actually come with these fantastic chains that attach to the back of the ankle straps and drape over the front of the foot, but one of the little leather straps has broken, so I need to get them repaired before I can wear them with chains again. Though to be honest, I feel they're more "me," without the chains. =) 

  9. I love the first one. And, your outfit looks amazing as well!