Sunday, May 6, 2012
Kentucky Derby Hats?
Yesterday, my wife and I attended a Kentucky Derby party at a fancy local St. Augustine hotel built by billionaire, Henry Flagler, at the beginning of the last century. The 2012 event proved to be a great time, and of course, we congratulate the winner, I'll Have Another and his rookie jockey, Mario Gutierrez. But there is more to the race than the victory.
When Aristides crossed the finish line on May 17, 1875, he became the first Kentucky Derby winner, and a new era had begun. No, it was not only the horse race that launched the 138-year tradition, but also ladies’ fashion hat attire.
In the 19th century, it was virtually a necessity for men and women to dress suitably for special occasions and outdoor events. This meant that hats were required, especially for women, since attending an event without one would have been scandalous.
As the popularity of the Derby grew, men continued to wear the traditional fedora, but women began to have more fun with their fashion choices. To stand out among the spectators, hats were designed with flamboyant embellishments. The ladies donned extra wide brims, with bright vibrant colors (The wide brims doubled as protection from the sun and its damaging UV rays affecting the face, neck, and shoulders). Floral arrangements, ribbons, and feathers became the norm.
Today, the Kentucky Derby sets the standard for high fashion and sophistication.
The 138th Kentucky Derby Race