Dressing the part
of fashion showcased
at Kentucky Derby Museum
from celebrity hostess
Tricia Barnstable on display
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 2009) Clothing and
hats have been a trademark of the Kentucky Derby since its beginnings
in 1875. Every year, all eyes are on the unveiling of the newest fashion
trends as designers show off their latest creations in an effort to
surpass last years styles.
example from the
late 1800s is a blue
silk, high neck gown.
This fashion culture has been captured in a new exhibit
at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Derby Decades, Simply Chic, will be on
display from April 10 to Dec. 31.
Hats were once required social wear, said Wendy Treinen,
Director of Communications for the Kentucky Derby Museum. Now they are
indelibly tied to the mystique of the Kentucky Derby and accentuate
beautiful and sometimes extreme fashions.
Derby Decades, Simply Chic will feature a retrospective of Derby fashion
worn by winning Derby horse owners, local residents, couture designers
and celebrities who have attended the Derby and related parties and
The exhibit will be unveiled at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9. A fashion
show will be held at 6:30 p.m., with a silent auction planned for the
evening as well. Tickets include cocktails and appetizers and are $35
if purchased by April 2 or $50 at the door.
Fashion has had a huge impact on the Derby. This will be shown through
the display of about 70 lavish gowns. One early fashion example from
the late 1800s is a blue silk, high neck gown, said Treinen. Derby fashion
runs the gamet of style, she said.
Contemporary gala gowns are also on display, including several elaborately
beaded ones on loan from Kentucky Derby celebrity hostess Tricia Barnstable.
These gowns denote the flavor and excitement associated with the Derby.
The Kentucky Derby Museum contains a second floor exhibit space where
this exhibit will be showcased, said Treinen. The area will be transformed
into a festive atmosphere, resembling a Gala party.
Its the very first exhibit of this kind dealing with Derby
fashion that we now of, said Treinen. Sometimes demure and often
outrageous, high fashion is associated with locals and out-of-towners
as a pre-requisite for attending the Derby.
Kentucky Derby Museum Executive Director Lynn Ashton had always been
interested in putting on such an exhibit, said Treinen. Oldham County
resident Jo Ross and her business partner, Bob Stuecker, have designed
the exhibit and will install it.
I actually formed a Costume Collection for the Museum of History
and Science, which is now the Louisville Science Center, back in 1978
when it opened, said Ross. She is a fashion expert with 40 years
experience in the business.
There are 22,000 historical fashion pieces in storage there.
Many of the items on display at the Kentucky Derby Museum will be on
loan from the Louisville Science Center, the Speed Art Museum and the
Elisabeth Sage Collection at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
After Aug. 1, the focus of the exhibit will shift to hats, accessories,
suits, sundresses and more casual wear, said Treinen. Currently, the
exhibit is comprised only of womens clothing.
The Kentucky Derby Museum is located on the front steps of historic
Churchill Downs. In June 1999, the museum underwent a $10 million renovation
and a 10,000-square-foot expansion. It has welcomed more than 2 million
visitors from all over the world since opening in April 1985.
Tickets may be purchased by calling (502) 637-1111,
ext. 226, or by visiting: www.derbymuseum.org.
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