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    Walking into the Horseshoe Casino Showroom amidst a sea of hundreds of jubilant women and a few men peppered throughout the crowd, I suddenly became jealous that I had been unable to arrive early enough to experience the two hours of cocktails and the three course meal, clearly enjoyed by all. The lights dimmed, the boisterous attendees grew still, and the stage became live with spring fashion at the 2010 AT&T Derby Festival Spring Fashion Show.

    Topiaries and butterflies set the scene for the first feature of the evening, John Seelye Furs. Though it seemed off-season and not very Derby-esque, the heavy coats of luxurious furs were stunning, and even led me to try them on after the show, under strict >Indianasecurity, of course.

    Following was an array of local boutiques and shops including The Willow Tree, Blink Boutique, Stein Mart, Jana Kos, Sisters and Clodhoppers, highlighting their top dress and suit picks for the Derby season. I would love to say that the apparel was the hit of the night, but it seemed the suggestive nature of unbuttoned linens and pastels on the male models sent this crowd into an uproarious mob of screaming 40-somethings.

    The hats of The Willow Tree took a close second as the crowd pleaser with the fun choreography to a Michael Jackson medley.< Models emulated the early 80s M.J.- silver glove, crew socks, and all-but no one was really focused below the neck.The exaggerated shapes and bold colors of the oversized Derby hats made me salivate for mint juleps and the strange desire to drop a load of cash on the “horse with the cutest jockey.” The last hat to emerge on the runway, the kelly green and black JLo-meets-Mad Hatter, sent a wave of oohs and awes- so much, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if green is the favored color this year.

    Overall, the trend was “there is no trend,” following 21st century fashion rules- dress for you: classic or retro, floral prints or solid colors, short or long, flats or stacked heels. The best thing women can take from that night was: anything goes, as long as you ‘own’ it, like only a woman of confidence can. Happy Derby 2010 shopping to all- local Louisville has all you need and more!

    Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby Festival

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