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In recognition of the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2024, the 12th edition of KMAC
Couture will honor one of Louisville’s most famous institutions and most notable traditions. For
generations, the pageantry and fashion that accompanies the annual Run for the Roses has
been a grand celebration of what many refer to as “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports.”
While it is an event that brings together many different cultures from around the globe, it
showcases a particularly exotic grandeur and snazzy decadence that could only come from
Kentucky. Like the Derby, KMAC Couture is set in the heart of the Spring season, and this year’s
theme looks to the resplendence of the time-honored event that occurs each year under the
twin spires of Churchill Downs, along with the bright colors, hats, flowers, mint juleps, and
horses that make our city and region one of the most unique in the world.

The rose has a place throughout art history as a symbol for power, royalty, beauty, love,
sensuality, and mysticism. Soon after the first race in 1875, the rose quickly became the official
flower of the Kentucky Derby. Every year, for over a century, at America’s most historic track, a
lush garland of 554 red roses continues to be draped over the greatest equine champions.

This year, KMAC encourages designers to think about and create an extraordinary wearable
artwork that harmonizes with the sartorial image of Louisville on the first Saturday in May. The
strongest submissions will incorporate an element of wonder or surprise. With 150 years of
fashions to inspire your design, a look could allude to the original formal wear of the Derby, the
over the top Edwardian opulence of long dresses and wide brimmed hats for women (often
trimmed in feathers or even completely stuffed birds, or adorned with ribbons and flowers) and
dark, well fitted suits for men that featured various combinations of top hats, bowler hats, bow
ties, ascots, and high buttoned up collars. While some of these styles are still referenced today,
there have been many updates throughout the years to match the modern era, particularly with
the infusion of bright colors for men and dresses with more contemporary silhouettes.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13, 2024 for KMAC Couture Runway for the Roses.

-Joey Yates

KMAC Museum Curatorial Director

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See photos, videos, and more from KMAC Couture 2024: Runway for the Roses!

Title Sponsor


Presenting Sponsor

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Art Walks the Runway Sponsor

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Who What Wear Sponsors

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Friend of Couture Sponsors

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