Wednesday evening was the second-to-last Hats on the Avenue atVaranese for 2013, featuring Derby-ready ensembles from neighboring boutique The Secret - Boutique that loves to tell paired with live jazz music and half-price bottles of wine. This writer has tried to make it a few times -- including an attempt that ended when someone stepped out in front of her bus; he lived -- so it was nice to have finally shown up to see the weekly flash fashion show at the New American restaurant.
"It's something that we started about four years ago with the local businesses in the community to showcase what they have to do during Derby,"Varanese owner and proprietor John Varanese explained to Louisville.com when asked about his restaurant's involvement with the annual impromptu fashion show. "We have a lot of great boutique shops on Frankfort Avenue, so we got involved with some of them to fashion their Derby wear and their hats on Wednesdays, and kinda tied it into the Half-Price Wine Night, made it a little more female-oriented or -driven that evening. That's kind of the beginning of it." Regarding the turnout in the fifth year of the show, Varanese noted the weather had played a role in the size of the crowd -- this night in particular was unseasonably chilly for late April -- although the main point wasn't just about the show, but also about the food such as his V-12 Burger, which this author had while waiting for the models to arrive from across the street.
Though the stated time of start is 6:30 p.m., the shows have begun around 7 this year, and Wednesday was no different. The group of models -- all of whom werecustomers of The Secret -- gathered at the front door before entering the restaurant, each wearing hats and fascinators by The Secret owner and milliner Mary "The Mac Hatter" Anderson. Some of the models also showed off "purse reduction" purses, small purses that conform to the new security guidelines at Churchill Downs for Oaks and Derby following the Boston Marathon bombing last week.
Ten minutes later, the show was over.
The final Hats on the Avenue for 2013 is next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. atVaranese on 2106 Frankfort Ave. Reservations are not required, but are recommended, and can be made by calling 502-899-9904. The Secret is located across the street at 2033 Frankfort Ave.
Photos: Cameron Miquelon/Louisville.com.