A Derby Chapeau for Nicanor of Old Friends

For the tenth consecutive year MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and Old Friends have been teaming up for a unique online shopping experience called “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby”!

This year our Derby hat fundraiser began on January 1st and will come to a close on April 11th. An annual event, “Hats Off”  features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.  All proceeds from the sale of the hats go to Old Friends.

The fourth and final hat up for bid in our 2019 Hats Off to the Horses auction series for Old Friends honors Nicanor, a stakes-placed runner, sire, and full brother to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.

Nicanor was pensioned from stud duty at Shamrock Farm, Maryland in the Spring of 2018 and retired by owners Mr. & Mrs. M. Roy Jackson of Lael Stables shortly thereafter to Old Friends.

Clearly, a very special hat was needed to honor this charming retiree of Old Friends.

To learn more about Nicanor’s life and career I went online and watched videos of his life on the track…

Next, a sketch of the hat was made, fabrics were chosen and the creative process was underway.

The resulting hat design showcases Nicanor’s beautiful bay coat, his Lael Stables racing silk colors of blue, lime green and white, along with his bold spirit and athleticism.

A hat foundation was created using a base layer of white dupioni silk overlaid with three wavy layers of white silk organza top stitched with chocolate thread that spill over the edge of the brim and extend the overall length of the hat to nearly 21 inches.

A white brocade underbrim creates a soft, elegant effect when the wearer’s face is upturned.

To showcase Nicanor’s stable colors, a large 2-tone blue silk organza double petaled Marguerite fleur with a chocolate rose curl center adorns the front of the hat.

A medley of lime organza and taffeta leaves was created to frame the rose.

The Marguerite was then framed with a medley of brown organza “feathers” topstitched in black thread to emphasize Nicanor’s bay coat.

A crisscross pattern sash honoring the racing silks of Lael Stables was created out of deep blue satin with white dupioni silk “crosses” to encircle the crown of the hat.

A white pebble button was added to the back of the hat for the finishing touch.

The lining for the “Nicanor” hat was created from a white brocade to coordinate with the trims.

As a physical remembrance of Nicanor, several strands of his tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Nicanor not only in spirit but in substance as well.

The hat was completed in early October, and then it was on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with our models!

And from all that I heard, everyone had a terrific time!

Special thanks to artist Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner, her husband retired jockey, Joe Steiner, their adorable son Jonah, and a welcome to chief photographer for Daily Racing Form and 6-time Eclipse Award winner, Barbara D. Livingston who has captivated us all with her stunning images!

The “Nicanor” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay. Bidding ends April 11th at 8 PM EST.

Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Nicanor” hat design and the amazing horse who inspired it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To learn more about the life, career and retirement of Nicanor, please visit the Nicanor horse webpage.

For more information about the “Nicanor” Chapeau please visit the Nicanor hat webpage.

Finally, we’d like to send a great big thank you to all of the “Friends of Old Friends” who are participating and sharing the word about “Hats Off to the Horses” this season through a very special social media campaign. Click on the poster below to learn more this effort that we introduced last season.

Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and for supporting our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser this year!


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