Story by Kris Ritcher
Photos by Danny Alexander
Many of us plan our looks extensively to suit the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby, and a calculated choice of headwear and hair can make the difference between delight and despair when the main event rolls around.
Keep in mind that Derby weather is unpredictable, and race day can become a long one depending on your agenda and activities. You’ll likely be taking lots of photos, so resist the urge to make everything ultra-glamorous. You don’t want to find yourself with wilted hair and stale makeup several hours into your day. Instead, punch up your daily look with a bright lip color or a smooth, polished low ponytail. Your hat or headpiece should help determine the hairstyle you choose for Derby. Your hair should complement your hat rather than compete with it.
Choose classic, sleek styles that can go the distance from daytime at the track to your after-party or dinner that night. For a bigger or taller hat, keep the hair sleek and simple and easy to touch-up if need be. Simple up-do styles (like a side chignon or a chic, messy, low bun) work well with a pillbox hat or fascinator. If you absolutely must have big, Southern belle-inspired hair, make it soft and consider letting your hat add a vertical impact to balance the look.
The team at Joseph’s Salon and Spa teamed up with HeadCandi to show us how to pull off these looks and more for this Derby season.
Britni Knable of HeadCandi Introduces House of K
From the time Britni Knable began working at Linda Campisano Millinery on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue in 2007, she knew she wanted to explore millinery as more than a hobby.
Over the last decade, Knable has grown a thriving business called HeadCandi that revolves around Derby-style hats and fascinators. She boasts such clients as country star Luke Bryan and his wife, Carolyn, countless television personalities and fashion/beauty blogger Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific fame.
Now, as if the few months leading up to Derby week aren’t hectic enough for Knable (who personally makes every headpiece she sells), she just opened her own boutique, House of K. What she describes as a prom and special occasion boutique opened in downtown New Albany in February. Knable describes the vibe of the shop as “stylish and sophisticated,” and promises customers will find “a carefully curated selection of dresses perfect for prom, black tie events and any Derby event, alongside a range of accessories, from jewelry to handbags.” For little ladies, you’ll also find a selection of First Communion and flower girl dresses at House of K.
You can also find Knable and her handmade hats online at www.shopheadcandi.com or in her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/headcandi. If you prefer the tactile experience of trying on, her headpieces are also available at multiple specialty shops in the area, including Dress & Dwell, Merci Boutique, Von Maur and Lulubelles. And Knable will have a pop-up shop set up in the lobby of the Marriott Courtyard Downtown Louisville during the week leading up to Derby.
“Eyes or Lips?”
You’ve got your hat and your hair sorted, so what about your best Derby face? According to the team at Joseph’s Salon and Spa, for a long day at the track or a party where touch-up opportunities may be unpredictable, make it easy to maintain your makeup by playing up your lips with a pop of strong color. No other event calls for bold colors like Derby does, so take advantage of all the hot pinks, reds and corals for lips this season. Or, if a strong, smokey eye complements your look, consider going with soft, pastel lips. It’s best to choose just one, eyes or lips, to be the focus of your face. Since your headpiece is presumably such a remarkable accessory, less really is more for your face.
Try new AVEDA Feed my Lips™️ Pure Nourish-Mint™️ with fruit butter and plant waxes to soften and nourish lips, a peppermint aroma and a satin finish. Colors shown are: Cana, Bronzed Pecan, Watermelon and Lychee. The lipsticks are $24 each and available now at Joseph’s Salon and Spa.