Connect with us


150 Years of Derby Fashion Is Making A Scene At The Kentucky Derby Museum



150 Years of Derby Fashion Is Making A Scene At The Kentucky Derby Museum

The Kentucky Derby Museum is unveiling the exhibition “See and Be Seen: 150 Years of Derby Fashion.” Fashion design and styling are woven into the fabric of the Kentucky Derby. Since the first spectators arrived at the Louisville Jockey Club in 1875, their clothing has transformed the racetrack into a scene where social identity and economic status has intersected with functionality and creativity. This exhibition is a retrospective of the history of Kentucky Derby fashion with a collection of 32 ensembles that date as early as the 1860s.

The culmination of years of research, Chris Goodlett, Director of Curatorial and Educational Affairs at the museum, says “See and Be Seen” is representative of every kind of Derby-goer. “We hope that guests see themselves in this collection — from the extravagant, to the casual, to the do-it-yourselfer, there’s truly something that speaks to everyone.”

The exhibit includes historic fashion artifacts from the Kentucky Derby Museum Permanent Collection, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Filson Historical Society, the Kentucky Science Center, and private lenders. The museum would like to thank all participating organizations and individuals for generously loaning these items.

The museum launched a public fashion contest in 2023 and some of the winners of that contest are also on view in the exhibit. In this way, “See and Be Seen” is as much an homage to the past 150 years as it is a glimpse into the 150 years. “You can see the parallels to the past in the winning contest submissions,” says Pat Armstrong, President and CEO of the museum. “And that speaks to the longevity and phenomenon that is the Kentucky Derby.”

“See and Be Seen: 150 Years of Derby Fashion” is now open to the public on the second floor of the Kentucky Derby Museum and is included with a general admission ticket. This temporary exhibit is blazing the trail toward the permanent exhibit scheduled for 2025, ahead of the museum’s 40th anniversary.

Continue Reading