Betsey Johnson goes pink with Kentucky Derby hats for breast cancer awareness


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

The extravagant hats worn at the royal wedding were without a doubt a sight to see, but every year women at the Kentucky Derby create a fashion spectacle in hat creations that are beyond royal-worthy. Is there a more appropriate way to accessorize your eye-popping pastel skirt suit, floral print dress or potent mint julep than with a Saturn-sized brim hat? Not in Louisville.

Designer Betsey Johnson is known for her flirty, bold dresses and a flair for the dramatic in her designs, so when Chambord liquor asked the feisty platinum blond to participate in some Ketucky Derby festivities, it was a perfect match.


Johnson, who will attend her first Kentucky Derby on Saturday, teamed up with the liquor brand to design Derby-style hats for its Pink Your Drink program that benefits breast cancer charities.

She designed three hats for the event, including a Barbie hat, rose hat and a spider hat. The Barbie hat, inspired by her grandkids, features a small Barbie figurine and her larger than life tulle dress made from the skirt of her pink, poufy Tallulah dress.

Her rose hat features pink roses, Johnson’s signature flower. The silky petals spill over and under the brim of the hat, fastend with an enormous pink bow. “It is the ultimate southern belle romantic hat, and I just threw in the pink wig to bring it over the top,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s spider hat was inspired by the big pink roses on Park Avenue in New York City “that have ladybugs and spiders on them right now.” The rose was made of the flowers that Johnson used in the finale of her fall 2011 fashion show.

If you’re attending the Derby this year you can bid on the Barbie hat at a charity brunch with Johnson in Louisville to benefit the Gilda’s Club. The rose hat is being auctioned on until Saturday and the spider design will be available through a contest on Chambord’s Facebook page. All auction proceeds will benefit the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

-- Jenn Harris