Welcome to the 2017 Derby Hat Countdown with MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®!
Today I am featuring Hat #16, the “Jordan” chapeau from the Rosie Signature Hat Collection at maggiemae.com! This collection benefits the retired racehorses of Old Friernds Thoroughbred Retirement in KY.
For more Kentucky Oaks and Derby hat ideas, please visit my 4 Derby Hat Salons at The Derby Hat Collection by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®.
Only 15 Derby chapeaux and 15 days to go ’til the 143rd Kentucky Derby!
The 2017 “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” for Old Friends continues in April with our fourth and final hat of the season, the “Danthebluegrassman”!
Special thanks to Krystal Court, her husband, jockey Jon Court and their daughter Aubrey and also to Shelby Landeros and her husband, jockey Chris Landeros for helping us this month with our “Danthebluegrassman” hat auction for Old Friends.
Thanks also to EquiSport Photos for their stunning images and video footage. A special thanks to Bella Rose Clothing Boutique of Lexington, Kentucky for furnishing Krystal and Shelby’s lovely dresses!
See Wendy Wooley’s behind-the-scenes video of the hat photo shoot with our models at Old Friends:
If you would like to bid on the “Danthebluegrassman” chapeau please place your bid at this link on EBay.
The fifth hat up for bid in our “Hats Off to the Horses” auction series for Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement in Kentucky honors the Kentucky-bred multiple stakes-winning stallion and son of the great Seattle Slew, Williamstown.
Williamstown is perhaps best known in racing circles for having run one of the fastest miles in history in the 1993 Withers Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. “Willie” retired to Old Friends in 2007 at the age of 17 having sired 15 stakes winners, including graded winner Vinemeister.
I had wanted to create a hat for Williamstown ever since I started doing this Derby hat auction fundraiser for Old Friends. Years ago I had seen a photo shoot of Willie done at Old Friends by Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos. Not only were the images stunning, but there was just something about this great black stallion that pulled me in and made me want to get to know him better…
When I asked Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, his impression of Williamstown you could tell that he’d been starstruck, too. “I visited Williamstown many years ago at Saratoga when Pete Vestal trained him,” recalled Michael. “I didn’t dream that many years later, he’d be living with me. The great son of Seattle Slew lives right across from one of Secretariat’s greatest sons, Tinner’s Way.”
Old Friends volunteer, Beth Shannon, was once again my trusty muse as I tried to get to the heart of this great stallion. “Williamstown is quite flashy,” stated Beth, “with chrome on all four legs and a broad blaze that goes down to cover his whole muzzle. He’s also got a vivid, distinctive eye much like Seattle Slew’s other son, A. P. Indy – an eye with the white showing, like a human eye. Williamstown is full of dignity and surprises; self sufficient but surprisingly friendly to those who are willing to take the time to get to know him.”
My research for creating the hat continued with reviews of Williamstown’s victories, his pedigree and his racing connections. The creative pistons were firing as I sketched ideas for a hat that would showcase Willie’s black with white markings, his friendly personality and those fabulous Willmott racing silk colors of bright pastel yellow and deep plum purple.
I searched through stacks of fabric and found the perfect colors, one by one.
To capture Williamstown’s strong yet elegant physique, I decided to create a wide brim hat foundation out of black dupioni silk, giving it a round, sheer silk organza crown.
A unique black silk organza overlayer would lend added dimension, elegance and drama.Next, I found some black and white striped ribbon and fashioned a band to encircle the sheer crown of the hat and give it some structure as well as color and design.
I found a bright yellow taffeta and two shades of yellow organza and fashioned three medium size rose curls…
… and I found the perfect plum and purple organzas to create a variegated medley of leaves to frame each of the roses.
I adorned the front of the hat with my three rose and leaf clusters, placing them in sweeping cascade down along the brim.
For a final touch to the centerpiece, I created eight long, curvaceous “feathers” out of black and white silk organza which I set behind the rose curl centerpiece to frame the wearer’s face.
Finally, a black pebble button was hand stitched to the back of the hat as a stunning accent.
The finished “Williamstown” design measures approximately 22 inches across, inclusive of the “feathers”.
As a physical remembrance of Williamstown, several strands of the great stallion’s tail hairs were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Williamstown not only in spirit but in substance as well.
Following a photo shoot here in our MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® studio…
The “Williamstown” chapeau was off and running to Old Friends for the big photo shoot with Rosie and Joe!
For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Williamstown photo shoot at Old Friends, check out the video footage below so generously provided by EquiSport Photos.
We want to extend a big thank you to newly retired jockey Rosie Napravnik and her husband, trainer Joe Sharp who have been super models for our auction hats this season and to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who worked their video/photographic magic once again. The dress that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Rosie matched the “Williamstown” hat beautifully. Our thanks to you all!
The “Williamstown” auction hat is up for bid staring February 1st at this Williamstown EBay link; bidding ends February 11th at 8 PM EST.
Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Williamstown” chapeau and the horse who inspired its creation.
The fourth hat up for bid in our “Hats Off to the Horses” auction series honors the Ohio-bred stakes-winning gelding and 3-time Ohio Horse of the Year, Catlaunch.
I can’t even begin to tell you what a privilege it is to create these Derby hats to honor the retired racehorses of Old Friends. And nothing pleases me more than to share with you how each horse inspired me to create their individual millinery tributes.
For starters, I asked Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, what his impressions were of his new retiree. “Catlaunch is a prime example of how a sturdy Thoroughbred, given the care and love of his trainer, groom, owner and jockey, can have a successful career for many years. He’s very smart and loveable and he eats carrots out of my mouth.”
Beth Shannon, a volunteer at Old Friends, described Catlaunch as “the color of an antique mahogany piece of furniture. A lovely, rich brown though not flashy. But there is one thing about his looks that’s very flashy – he is a giraffe! Tall, long legged, long necked, holds his head high, slender. He’s all heart and he’s sweet, too. He likes to lick faces and ears.”
My research continued with reviews of The Cat’s victories, his pedigree and his racing connections. Known affectionately by some as Thistledown’s “Iron Horse”, Catlaunch retired to Old Friends at the age of 13 a millionaire, with 40 victories and 22 stakes wins to his credit.
To capture Catlaunch’s statuesque, elegant physique, I decided on a splendid top hat style for the hat’s foundation.
I was thrilled when I found the perfect blue turquoise metallic taffeta to create it!
For the trim centerpiece I shaped a large rose curl out of alternating layers of blush pink and rose pink organza to adorn the front of the hat. A medley of turquoise blue organza leaves were fashioned to frame it.
A double bow and sash were created out of a rich golden mahogany brown crinkled taffeta lined with soft turquoise crinkled taffeta.
Mocha hat veiling was layered to delicately cover the entire hat and gracefully drape down over the wearer’s face.
For a final touch to the centerpiece, three long, curvaceous “feathers” were created out of mocha organza with a golden shimmer and then set behind the rose curl.
Three clear, soft blue buttons were hand stitched to adorn the back seam.
The lining was created from a rich chocolate taffeta.
The finished “Catlaunch” design measures approximately 17 inches across and 10 inches in height, inclusive of the “feathers”.
As a physical remembrance of Catlaunch, several strands of the great gelding’s tail hairs were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Catlaunch not only in spirit but in substance as well.
Talk about The Cat’s Meow!
Following a quick photo shoot here in our MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® studio…
The “Catlaunch” was off and running to Old Friends for the big photo shoot with Shea and Julien Leparoux!
For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Catlaunch photo shoot at Old Friends, check out the video footage below so generously provided by EquiSport Photos.
For the sixth consecutive year Old Friends and I have teamed up for our annual online Derby hat auction called “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” that begins on November 1st and continues all the way to the Derby. The 6-month auction series features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats that I have created to honor specific horses who now live at Old Friends.
As a milliner and a horse lover it is a passion creating these auction hats for Old Friends. And this month’s chapeau created to honor one of their newest retirees, Game On Dude, has been extra special.
Christmas came in early October this year when the glorious news hit the racing wires that Game On Dude was being retired to Old Friends. Thanks to the help of his owners and his trainer, Bob Baffert, on October 7, 2014 The Dude landed at Dream Chase Farm with fellow racing star, Amazombie.
To celebrate The Dude’s extraordinary career and arrival to Old Friends, I created the “Game On Dude” chapeau.
In a Bloodhorse article that came out just prior to Game On Dude’s arrival at Old Friends, President and founder of Old Friends, Michael Blowen stated, “We are thrilled that Bob Baffert and the owners of Game On Dude are entrusting Old Friends with their spectacular racehorse.” And he added, “Now I know how the people of Cleveland felt when LeBron James signed with the Cavs.”
My research for the hat was easy since so much has been written about Game On Dude’s achievements. Kentucky-bred Game On Dude was a 3-time Santa Anita Handicap winner and millionaire, retired with earnings of just under $6.5 million. The 7-year-old gelding won 16 of his 34 starts, including 14 graded stakes and, notably, two editions of both the Hollywood Gold Cup and Goodwood/Awesome Again Stakes.
When I asked Old Friends volunteer, Beth Shannon, her impression of Game On Dude she told me, “He is absolutely a sweetie. He’s also one cool dude in the sense of a certain smooth elegance with one of the most refined, elegant heads I’ve ever seen on a Thoroughbred. No frills and no uneven edges about his personality, just plenty of grace and style. If I were designing a visual tribute to Game On Dude, I’d make it cool, sleek and dynamic in a daring, graceful way.”
I couldn’t wait to get started on the hat that would showcase the Dude’s racing accomplishments, his medium bay coloring, his friendly, “cool dude” personality and his racing silk colors of royal blue, deep pumpkin orange and white piping!
I chose a fedora-flavored crown with a wide brim fashioned out of chocolate brown dupioni silk for the foundation of the hat.
A swirling black brocade underbrim was selected to reflect the undulating, rippling motion of the magnificently muscled Thoroughbred athlete stretched out at full gallop. The edge of the brim was trimmed with a unique ruffled brim edge which allows light to pass through the sheer fabric. Handcrafted out of black silk organza overlaid with chocolate brown silk “pinstripes”, the resulting look is one of smooth elegance befitting the very coolest of dudes.
Now for the centerpiece! I fashioned a large rose curl out of alternating layers of deep pumpkin orange silk, cinnamon organza and pale peach organza for the front of the hat. Deep royal blue satin and organza leaves were fashioned to frame the rose.
For a final touch to the centerpiece, eight black silk organza “feathers” lined with shimmering gold organza were set behind the rose curl to reflect The Dude’s eight Grade 1 wins and, most especially, his record three Santa Anita and two Hollywood Gold Cup victories.
A sash created out of several layers of royal blue satin lined with gold organza was made to encircle the crown of the hat; a gold button added the finishing touch to the sash in the back.
The lining was created from black swirling brocade to coordinate with the underbrim of the hat.
The finished “Game On Dude” design measures approximately 24 inches end to end.
As a physical remembrance of Game On Dude, several strands of the great gelding’s tail hairs were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Game On Dude not only in spirit but in substance as well.
We want to extend a big thank you to Rosie Napravnik who is always a super model for our auction hats as well as to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who worked their photographic magic once again. The dress that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Rosie matched the chapeau beautifully. Our thanks to you all!
I have been wanting to create a hat for Clever Allemont ever since I started “Hats Off” back in 2009. Clever Allemont was the winner of both the I984 Rebel and Southwest stakes races among others. Yet sadly, like too many other racehorses, somewhere along the way Clever’s life had taken a dangerous turn. He was rescued from a kill pen in 2008 and retired to Old Friends in 2009 through the efforts of a team of people bonded by the same goal: to ensure his safe retirement.
Clever’s was a life story that needed to be shared.
I decided to create a very special millinery design to pay tribute to this Thoroughbred athlete’s amazing life and to offer it as a special holiday bonus for our fundraiser.
In keeping with this season’s theme of “Rosie Napravnik and Friends” for our auction series, jockey Julien Leparoux and his wife Shea have joined us, with Shea modeling the Clever Allemont hat.
Eclipse-Awarding winning French-born jockey, Julien Leparoux is one of horse racing’s leading riders who just this October tallied his 2,000th win at Churchill Downs. In 2009 Julien added another feather to his cap when he became only the second jockey in history to win three Breeders’ Cup races during a single year.
Julien’s wife, Shea, is the daughter of West Coast trainer Mike Mitchell and has spent her whole life around horses and the race track. Shea loves musical theater and has worked as an entertainer at Disneyland. You can hear her as the voice of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance’s new promotional video “All About the Horse.”
We are delighted to have Shea and Julien joining our “Hats Off” team!
From all that I have heard Clever Allemont was a horse who touched the lives of everyone who knew him.
Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, states, “Clever Allemont was the kindest, friendliest stallion on the farm. He inspired deaf people because he was deaf, visually impaired people because he enjoyed life though he’d lost an eye, indeed anybody who knew what it’s like to overcome hardship. People call Clever Allemont a ‘rescue,’ but it’s really the horses who rescue us.”
Beth Shannon, a volunteer at Old Friends adds, “A triumph of love over greed is what I call Clever’s journey from a kill buyer’s pen waiting for a slaughter auction, to a new life as one of Old Friends’ most loved residents, as a gracious host, kind friend and inspiration to us all.”
Clearly, a very special hat was needed to pay tribute to this kind hearted member of the Old Friends family who inspired so many.
I went online and Clever’s racing bio, consulted with those who knew Clever well, and soon I had the background information that I needed.
And there was something that Beth had shared with me about Clever that really stuck in my mind. “Clever was a horse of many colors, steady, kind, persevering, yet often giving us wonderful little surprises.” Guided by Beth’s insight, I decided to sculpt the “Clever Allemont” as a fascinator. Sketches were made and fabrics were chosen, the creative process was underway!
I began by crafting an oval fascinator base out of “raw sienna” brown dupioni silk which I lined with warm chocolate taffeta.
An outer brim ruffle in soft orange organza added both dimension and a subtle elegance to the entire foundation.
For the trim centerpiece I created a burnt orange silk rose curl with a two-tone chocolate button adding accent and sparkle to the rose.
To frame the rose I fashioned a layer of chocolate organza bow loops with a second layer of green organza and chocolate silk leaves beneath it.
For a final touch to the centerpiece, a third layer was created out of orange netting dotted with white buttons to reflect Clever’s racing silk colors of orange with white polka dots.
Five black silk organza “feathers” were provided as a playful finishing accent to the centerpiece which beautifully frames the face.
For a final touch, a chocolate brown organza double bow with tails was added beneath the base of the fascinator to accent the headband.
Photos were taken of the hat in our studio here on Cape Cod…
We want to extend a big thank you to our models, Shea and Julien Leparoux, as well as to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who worked their photographic magic. The dress that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Shea matched the chapeau beautifully. Our thanks to you all, we couldn’t do these auctions without you!
The “Clever Allemont” chapeau is up for bid on EBay as a special holiday addition to the fundraiser. Bidding ends Thanksgiving night, November 27th at 8 PM EST.