Kentucky Derby–themed parties offer one of the few pastimes in which Americans don hats, so it’s no surprise the event is a big deal for hatmakers. For the past two years, Minneapolis- and Fargo-based designer Anna Lee has used the annual horse race as the muse for her spring hat collections under her label, Ruby3.
This year, she is taking that concept to the next level with a line featuring a dozen new designs, each representing one of the past 12 Triple Crown Winners. (In thoroughbred racing, the Triple Crown is a top achievement awarded to a horse who has won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes within the same year.) For the collection, dubbed “A Horse of a Different Color: A Triple Crown Collaboration,” Lee partnered with local illustrator Allegra Lockstadt, who created a corresponding portrait of the Triple Crown Winners for each hat design. Citing a “mutual adoration” for the Kentucky Derby, the were inspired to collaborate on a creative project “that celebrated the history of the Derby and horse racing culture.” The hats include the classic trappings of Kentucky Derby hats—colorful feathers, large floral blooms, and striped ribbon—rendered in modern, sculptural silhouettes.
Get a first glimpse of the hats at a free launch party at designer resale store June this Sunday, April 3, when you can receive a print by Lockstadt with any purchase from the new Ruby3 line (noon-4 p.m., 3406 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, juneresale.com). You can also find Ruby3 hats at the American Craft Council Show in the “Hip Pop” booth on April 8-10 (St. Paul RiverCentre, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, shows.craftcouncil.org/stpaul), and at Fashion Week MN event “Winsome and Workerby Present: The Shoot Part II” on April 16 (11 a.m.-4 p.m., Shelter Studios, 721 Harding St. NE, Minneapolis, eventbrite.com).
And Derby (and hat) fans, mark your calendar: The 2016 Kentucky Derby takes place on May 7, and Lee and Lockstadt are co-hosting a Pop-up Derby party at Black and White Studio in Minneapolis, offering the perfect opportunity to don one of Lee’s statement-making chapeaus. It includes a live telecast of the race, best-dressed and best-hat contests, and prints and hats for purchase. (4-7 p.m., 3222/3224 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, eventbrite.com)
Another image from the collaboration, featuring a Ruby3 hat and illustration by Lockstadt:
all photos by Lauren Krysti
Here are more images from Ruby3’s “A Horse of a Different Color” lookbook: