Five Questions with Featured Milliner of Kentucky Derby 144

Published: Apr. 5, 2018 at 10:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2018 at 1:13 AM EDT
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Christine A. Moore is the first Featured Milliner in Kentucky Derby history. (Source: Provided...
Christine A. Moore is the first Featured Milliner in Kentucky Derby history. (Source: Provided photo)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You may be surprised to learn that in its 143-year history, there's never been a featured milliner at the Kentucky Derby -- until now.

Churchill Downs has announced Christine Moore will be the featured milliner of the 144th Kentucky Derby.

New York based Moore, and her hats and fascinators, are well-known among horse racing and Kentucky Derby fans. She is also the official milliner for the Breeders' Cup, America's Best Racing, the Iroquois Steeplechase, the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day, and the featured designer at the Preakness Stakes, Keeneland, and the Florida Derby.

>> The WAVE 3 News Digital Derby Guide 

Moore, who wears a hat every day, started out working in theater as a costume designer. She met a milliner working on a project in Philadelphia and was captivated by her curling a feather. So she began working with her.

She then became a milliner for regional theater and worked for Rodney Gordon, the premier milliner who does all the Broadway shows. In 1994, she went out on her own with Christine A. Moore Millinery. Locally, her hats can be purchased at Rodes for Him and for Her.

Here are my five questions with milliner Christine Moore:

1.) You've been chosen as the Featured Milliner of Kentucky Derby 144.  What does this mean for you?

It is a great honor to be recognized like this. It is awe-inspiring when I think that I am the first featured milliner in the history of the Kentucky Derby -- an American race that is famous for all those iconic hats. Being part of that legacy is a highlight of my career!

2.) What are the hat trends this year?

Streamlined, clean lines with elegance is always popular and that is the Camhats style. However, the finer points of the season: French net is in demand, especially if it dips a bit into the face. Feathers are not as popular, mostly because they are less refinished. People just are looking for a touch of feather, not to overwhelm or be the focus of the design. Flowers are more popular than bows this year. Feminine silhouettes and style are leading the market. The hat is gaining again on the fascinator, but as soon as the Royal wedding hits you can be sure the fascinator will make a huge comeback. Colors: pinks, lavenders, greens with also blush and light blues. Black and white or black and red also is a trend -- good for the fans of Louisville! Just for Racing, we are seeing more people who are wanting to dress in the colors of their favorite silks or horse. It is pretty cool to see this, as we have been waiting for this trend to hook. This is perfect for the year where we are going into Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs.

3.) You have worked with some major celebrities. Who did you love designing a hat for?

I always feel blessed when I get that opportunity. A lot of times I will be dealing with a stylist. Some recent gracious celebrities have been Jewel for Breeders' Cup, and Steffi Graf for last year's Derby. I will tell you though, I never get tired of watching Mary J. Blige sing the National Anthem in the red hat I designed for her for the 138th Kentucky Derby -- it is a great YouTube watch!

4.) You have traveled to so many different tracks and hat events. Do you find that styles differ from place to place?

Yes, each track has its own style, and of course the weather plays a role as well. Straw for warm weather, and felt for cool. The Kentucky Derby, of course, is beautiful southern belle and "go big or go home," and Keeneland and Saratoga are a more streamlined, elegant look.

5.) It's the burning question everyone has -- do you buy the hat or dress first?

It really is pretty equal. If you have great stores near you and can browse, it makes finding the dress easier. I know there are not nearly as many great places to buy a hat so I suggest you start there. Find the style and hat you love and then look for the dress. I have to admit though, I love when a woman has her dress and sends a photo, it makes the process of designing for her a lot of fun.

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