Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby

A Unique Online Charity Hat Auction Benefiting Old Friends

For the second consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and Old Friends are teaming up for an unparalleled online shopping experience: "Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby". This unique Derby hat fundraiser features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit Old Friends. To learn more about Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm and bid on the hats, please visit the Old Friends website, or call them at 502-863-1775.

For the third hat auction of this year's series, milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® has created this stunning one-of-a-kind couture Derby hat in honor of Creator, one of the most beloved retirees at Old Friends of Kentucky.

Bred in Great Britain, this striking chestnut was the last foal of the great UK turf champion, Mill Reef, who to this day remains the only racehorse to have won the Epsom Derby, Eclipse, King George and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Creator had an amazing racing career in England and France for the Godolphin Stables, winning on both grass and dirt including five consecutive graded stakes victories with impressive wins in The Prix Ganay and several at Longchamp. Following his racing career, he stood at Nitta Farm in Japan alongside Sunshine Forever. In late 2004, arrangements were made to bring both Creator and Sunshine Forever from Nitta Farm to Old Friends, thereby making them the first stallions to be brought back to America after stud duty in Asia.

This handsome chestnut stallion's coat is described by Old Friends as the color of "a bright new shiny copper penny", most especially when the setting sun shines upon it. A brilliant reddish coppery brown dupioni silk was selected to capture this warm imagery, and a unique trim design of sumptuous tones and textures was chosen to celebrate Creator's conformation, the racing colors of his stable and his impressive career as a talented equine athlete.

Perhaps the most striking and unusual feature of this hat design is its asymmetrical shape. Creator himself often strikes a pose reminiscent of some Hollywood movie star; his long, full forelock swished to one side of his face. To capture this effect, layers upon rippling layers of shimmering copper-tinted chocolate crinkled taffeta and chocolate tulle were fashioned in such a way as to catch the light and draw the eye to the right side of the brim.

Additional sprays of chocolate tulle were added to these wavy overbrim layers, expanding the brim to more than 23 inches and creating a suave, debonair look.

Creator's racing silk colors for the Godolphin Stable back in the 1980's were maroon and white. To reflect these colors, a stunning rose curl was created using a rich maroon dupioni silk swirled with layers of white silk organza to give a regal centerpiece to the design.

Copper and sage metallic taffetas were used to create a lavish bed of variegated leaves which symbolize Creator's wins on both dirt and turf during his racing career.

A sash of maroon silk lined with sage metallic green taffeta was created to form a softly gathered sash around the crown of the hat which serves to balance all of the other elements of this asymmetrical design.

For a finishing touch, two pebbly green sparkle buttons were set on the center back seam of the hat to celebrate the arrival of Creator and his old companion, Sunshine Forever, to Old Friends in 2004.

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Creator and all of the horses who, thanks to the generosity of those who support their aftercare, now graze in the warm sunshine of Dream Chase Farm for the rest of their lives.

To read more about Creator, the horse, please click on the following link - Featured Horse.This amazing millinery delight will be up for bid from January 1st through the 11th, 2011. At the end of the month, the winning bidder's name will be announced (unless they prefer to remain anonymous).

Bid as many times and on as many hats as you like during this running auction. For further information about the eBay bidding process, please contact Old Friends at 502-863-1775. If you don't desire to place a bid on a hat, please contact Old Friends to see about what other ways you might be able to help out at Dream Chase Farm.

Freight charges will be at the expense of the winning bidder. Winning bidders, please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery of your hat in order to ensure proper sizing.

To view the couture Derby hats from previous auctions, please click on the following - Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio.

Photo Credits: Creator photo(1) by Matt Woolley - www.equisportphotos.com, Creator photo(2) by Rick Capone