Gunnar Deatherage

Photo by Hunter Zieske.


Written and styled by Tonya Abeln
Published in partnership with Churchill Downs Magazine
Photos by Andrew Kung
Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Cassie Young
Models: Olivia Anderson and Tana Leggo with Heyman Talent Agency


Before moving to Los Angeles to design and build sets for music artists like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Halsey, Sia and Usher, Gunnar Deatherage was in high demand in Louisville as a stylist and fashion designer. Particularly for Derby season, the “Project Runway” and “Project Runway All Stars” alum would acquire a long list of clients hoping to be a canvas for his quirky and original couture garments, even turning a hand at millinery and hat design when the occasion required.

Now, Gunnar has translated his passion for creating and sewing into a large Patreon membership and has amassed over 2.3 million followers on his DIY social platforms.

This year, Louisville will welcome Gunnar back for a homecoming on Opening Night of Kentucky Derby Week where he will debut a fashion-inspired and interactive installation at Churchill Downs Racetrack. Whether inspiring millions online or focusing on one client in person, Gunnar has a special way of stimulating self-love and encouraging expression of inner creativity.