Sunday afternoon while the Cherokee Art Festival entered its last two hours, the Heather French Henry Showroom at 1357 Bardstown Road held its own party featuring Derby hats by famed milliner Gabriel Amar of Gabriel Amar for Frank Olive. Proceeds from the two-hour long affair benefited the WHAS Crusade for Children.
The foundations for the boutique itself came about due to French Henry’s customers wanting to be fitted personally by the 2000 Miss America, who had been designing evening and prom wear for five years. The showroom was previously the warehouse for her online store – and prior to that, someone’s childhood home, according to French Henry – before being opened to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. As far as selling hats only days before Oaks and Derby, she said that “a lot of women do wait until just a few days before Derby to get that Derby hat.” French Henry plans to have all of the production of her collections, from her least expensive sweaters to her most expensive custom designs, made somewhere in the United States by Derby 2014.
Gabriel Amar’s involvement with the hat party has its roots with the friendship established between the two years prior, sharing ideas that led to the first-ever such event. The milliner’s hats took to the runway during the first-ever Waterfront Fashion Week, an event Amar was proud of having been a part:
“I’m proud to be a part of that, and I’m proud to be a part of [Waterfront] Fashion Week, really. It’s the first time it’s happened in Louisville, and I hope they’re gonna continue with that for every year, and I would be happy to be a part of it every year because it’s really something big to bring to Louisville.”
Amar also said that in the years he’s been in the business of fashion, he’s seen that Louisville has a lot of fashion sense, and that the women in the city are willing to spend money to be as fashionable as their hearts desire.
When asked about their involvement with WHAS Crusade for Children, French Henry stated that both she and Amar have relationships with the station and the charity. “They’ve done so much for the community that we feel like we can always do something for them.” As far as Derby and Oaks plans go, French Henry will be viewing Derby from afar for the first time, citing her busy schedule prior to the festivities. Amar will be at Derby, working at Von Maur for Oaks.
For more information, you may visit the showroom online at www.hfhshowroom.com, email [email protected], or call 502-384-5333. The showroom will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Tuesday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
Photos: Cameron Miquelon/Louisville.com.