KMAC Couture Fashion Week: Where Art and Fashion Collide

Photos by Kathryn Harrington and Andrea Hutchinson

Over the last eight years, KMAC Couture has cemented its status as a must-see local event, transforming the 700 block of West Main Street into a covered runway for high-concept fashion and wearable art. The comparisons to New York Fashion Week were inevitable, prompting KMAC to add its own Fashion Week in the days leading up to the Couture runway show. Still a celebration of art and fashion, KMAC Couture Fashion Week, presented by Merkley Kendrick Jewelers and Digenis Plastic Surgery Institute, brings local businesses into the mix for a series of free events that combine unique experiences and exclusive discounts. To learn more about this exciting week, we spoke with KMAC’s Development and Membership Associate, Kris Pettit, and KMAC Couture Fashion Week Committee Chair, Lee Middendorf.

What will attendees see at the third annual KMAC Couture Fashion Week that’s different from years past?

“This year, we’re focusing attention on specific Louisville neighborhoods for Fashion Week,” says Pettit. “We’ve found that Fashion Week attendees want to be able to park the car and really dive into a neighborhood on foot. This will give them a chance to do that. Each evening will have a different neighborhood focus, from St. Matthews to Crescent Hill to NuLu, with multiple participating businesses.

Willa Pettit and Dr. Sean Maguire.

“A great example of the types of synergies this can produce can be seen in Crescent Hill,” she continues. “Fashion Week attendees will be able to explore businesses like Jordan Clines Jewelers, Summer Eliason Design and Peacock Boutique while enjoying light bites provided by Crescent Hill staples like Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe. We love the idea of highlighting the local flavor of each location, both literally and figuratively.”

What local businesses are hosting events this year?

“In addition to the Crescent Hill businesses mentioned earlier, we’ll have an event at SKYN Lounge, now in their new Chenoweth Lane location, featuring a SkinCeuticals gift with purchase,” says Pettit. “Guests at the Fashion Week Drybar event will want to be sure to book their KMAC Couture day-of services. Drybar will be offering a free gift bag with blowout service for Couture attendees. Guests can also enjoy events at Pappy and Co., RJE Interiors and Rabbit Hole Distillery. Whether you’re looking for hair services, cosmetic treatments, furniture, jewelry, fashion – or bourbon! – KMAC Couture Fashion Week has an event for you.”

“We’re really excited about the platform sponsorship with Merkley Kendrick Jewelers,” adds Middendorf. “We’ve been working to grow KMAC Couture Fashion Week over the last few years. “The addition of Merkley Kendrick alongside our other long-time business supporters really demonstrates that this week of events has hit its stride in the local community.”

What fun surprises are planned at each location?

“Our Fashion Week sponsors always enchant us with their inventive take on the week, and this year is no exception,” says Pettit. “Expect fun raffles and signature cocktails at the Work the Metal/Maker’s Mark event, eye-popping gift card giveaways at Peacock Boutique and exclusive discounts at Physicians Center for Beauty and Merkley Kendrick Jewelers. But we can’t give away everything that’s up our sleeve. You’ll have to make plans to attend if you don’t want to miss out on this year’s Fashion Week excitement.”

How does Fashion Week help build momentum for KMAC Couture?

“Whether we’re talking about the Kentucky Derby or KMAC Couture, Louisvillians love to take an evening of festivity and turn it into a week of celebration,” laughs Pettit. “The level of excitement and inspiration in the tent at KMAC Couture is already off the charts. The only way we could improve upon it was by extending the party throughout the week. In all seriousness, though, we feel so grateful that Louisville has embraced KMAC Couture and Fashion Week, especially since Couture is so crucial to the work of KMAC Museum.

“As our signature fundraiser, Couture helps make sure that we’re able to continue our mission of connecting people with art and creative practice through our education activities, exhibitions and programs,” she adds. “The proceeds from Couture ticket sales are invested directly back into that mission, and Fashion Week really helps to bring it all together. With this year’s ticket sales already exceeding our wildest expectations, it looks like KMAC Couture and Fashion Week are on track to ensure another great year at KMAC Museum.” V

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