Don’t know what to wear to Derby? Here’s your answer. Macy’s Presents the Kentucky Derby Festival Spring Fashion Show. Cocktails, dinner, the KDF Fashion Show and the opportunity to purchase official 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival merchandise—it’s all happening on Thursday, March 26 at Caesars Southern Indiana, beginning at 5:30pm. The latest spring fashions on the runway come from locally owned boutiques. Let’s meet three of them.
Jen Neutz, owner of Darling State of Mind, is participating in the KDF Spring Fashion Show for the third time and she is thrilled to be showing everyone at Caesars some spring looks from her store. She has not one, not two, but three locations of her boutique Darling State of Mind. Westport Village, Middletown and Shelbyville Road Plaza all have a storefront of Darling State of Mind clothing and merchandise, including jewelry, accessories, shoes and home décor items like wall art and pillows, with everything at an affordable price. The fashions are almost always under $50. Jen doesn’t believe in price gouging for Derby, y’all. Her fascinators average $30. That’s right, that’s it, thirty. “We’re convinced we have the least expensive fascinators in Louisville,” Jen says. “We really do offer affordable fashion.”
At Derby time and throughout the year, Darling State of Mind has customers as young as high school students to people in their 60s, with everyone finding what they want and need, from dresses to tops and pants to outerwear.
Now, what’s hot for spring? “Jumpsuits are huge, especially midi length,” Jen says. “Leopard print is insanely popular.” For shoes, Darling State of Mind is stocking plenty of platforms and wedges. And platform wedges.
Born and raised in Louisville, Jen is all about the Kentucky Derby and the entire season surrounding it. “It’s a nostalgia thing,” she says. She and her husband, also a Derby City native, even got married at Churchill Downs. “It is the one event that everyone literally loves in our city,” she says.
Katie Meinhart is the owner of Six Sisters Boutique. She opened the store in August 2017 on East Market Street in NuLu as a one-stop shop for the working woman to find women's clothing and accessories, as well as gifts for home and baby. Katie will be involved with the KDF Spring Fashion Show for the 10th time personally and the third time with her boutique. “Always fun to see other girl bosses and owners in Louisville at one event together,” she says. “Whether it be florals, bright colors or easy breezy linens, I think everyone can expect to be awed by the fun fashion brought to the stage.”
She is always excited to spend time with other small-business retail owners in the area, sharing a mutual passion for fashion and Derby spirit. Katie says the best part of her job is that she gets to shop and play dress-up every day. “Derby season really enhances that for me because I get to help women really go big with their style,” she says. “To be able to dress head-to-toe looks that you won't see every day is just a really fun part of what we get to do at Six Sisters. Both the season and Derby Day make for the best party of the year.”
Remember when Justify won the 2018 Kentucky Derby? Katie will never forget the season leading up to that first Saturday in May, because Six Sisters Boutique was listed in the New York Times, and she and her staff ended up shipping out 50 hats on the Monday and Tuesday of Derby week “to women all over the country who were having Derby parties in their own cities,” Katie recalls. “It's bigger than even we realize. The Kentucky Derby is an event known around the world.”
Stephanie Susemichel’s vision of showcasing on-trend fashions at a good price point came to fruition in early 2016 when she opened Magnolia & Fig on Shelbyville Road in Middletown. “I didn’t want it to cost you a car payment to get a nice dress for Derby or for a wedding,” she says.
Stephanie has a ton of fabulous Derby looks this year. “One of my big focuses every year is that I only order six pieces of each item,” she says. “It will stand out at the track. You won’t go to the Oaks or Derby and see your dress on other women.”
At the KDF Spring Fashion Show, you’ll see fashions from Magnolia & Fig on the runway featuring unique details and a lot of texture, like lace overlays, and some bright neon pieces. “Neon is surprisingly flattering on a lot of different complexions,” Stephanie says.
Stephanie is a Louisville native, so she grew up with the Kentucky Derby as a focal point. “It’s an institution in your life. You’re out of school for Oaks, you plan for months for Derby, you go to Thunder Over Louisville in college,” says Stephanie. “It’s more than the actual horse race. Derby is part of our Kentucky heritage.”
She especially appreciates the local aspect surrounding the Kentucky Derby Festival festivities, because customers from all over the place want to support local shops and restaurants. “I love that whole culture around Derby,” she says. “It’s inclusive and really unites the city.”