Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who is Styling the Derby??

Hmm, so Vineyard Vines has taken on the moniker of "The Official Style of the Kentucky Derby." Not sure how I feel about this one.

Don't get me wrong, I like Vineyard Vines (although, at times, they are a bit pricey for the product). But, I think of them as a resort/beachwear company, not an outfitter for the grande dame of horse racing. Clearly they're trying extra hard to branch out, and given they've been able to secure this honor, they've certainly landed the big whale (har, har).

VV does have a huge presence at Carolina Cup, a big steeplechase event in South Carolina, evident throughout their blog. You'll see countless photos of cute young college guys and gals mobbing the VV tent, trying to land as much swag as they can. So, they are "in" with a certain demographic of the horsey set. (On a sidenote, while I've never been to Carolina Cup, having only seen photos, I just need to know: If you are a gal between the ages of 18 and 25 attending CC, is a Lilly Pulitzer sundress and floppy hat the mandatory dress code? Seriously, EVERY girl is sporting that same uniform.)

The Run for the Roses silk sash from Vineyard Vines' Kentucky Derby Collection. Hmm. It's green. I guess it's intended to be a subtle nod to the garland of roses awarded to the winning horse, which is RED. Again, not sure how I feel about this one.

Granted, you'll see your share of Lilly and VV at the Derby; but more often than not, at least in spots like the Clubhouse and Millionaire's Row, the hats will be Frank Olive, Lulu Guinness and Christine Moore Millinery, and the clothing will be Milly, BCBG, kate spade, Chanel and on up the food chain. (I won't even try to describe the fashion scene in the Infield. It's an island unto itself and I don't travel to that island.)

The men's mint julep tie is a good look - so props to VV on this one.

Although, I think the gals at Southern Proper had this idea first (see above). Not to split hairs, but their julep cups are more authentic looking. I know, I'm really being obnoxious about this, aren't I?

Sorry I realize I'm coming off as a complete snob (or old lady) in this post. It's just that as someone who holds the Derby near and dear to her heart, I feel somewhat protective of my turf. Here comes a northeastern company claiming dibs on our southern belle. I get it; the marketing teams at both companies siezed on an opportunity. Believe me, I know how this works. Visa, Yum! Brands, etc. have their logos slapped all over the Derby. It's all a money-making venture. So, I'm not surprised that VV has joined in.

You better do right by us, VV. That's all I'm sayin.'

We're closing in on the weekend, folks. I'm happy to say I'm off work tomorrow and spending time with my kiddos for the last days of spring break. I'm very much looking forward to it!
Images from Vineyard Vines and Southern Proper


Main Line Sportsman said...

I share your skepticism regarding Vineyard Vines as a outfitter for the Derby. They channel a Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard vibe that does not seem to translate to Kentucky Blue grass and Horseflesh.
As for Carolina Cup...a quality race...but the just out of college set turns most of the railside into a Uber-Prep drunk-fest..they barely know horses are running. And yes...the girls uniform is too cliche and standard and all these guys seem to think wearing seersucker and flip-flops is just so cool. Gold Cup race in Virginia has gone the same way...guess I am getting curmudgeonly...

Jessi said...

I agree, too. My idea of dressing for Derby isn't the VV style.

Unfortunately we aren't hosting a party this year. New baby and our co-hosts are out of town.

Enjoy your day off and the weekend. Hope the weather is nice!

Tickled Pink Talk said...

as we head in to the home stretch for our Kentucky Derby themed auction this weekend, we are all struggling on what to wear! (being the New Englanders that we are!!) Your insight in fantastic, and fyi, my darling hubby will be sporting a Southern Proper Mint Julep tie. Love it!

bevy said...

I grew up going to the Carolina Cup (or The Cup as it's more commonly known) in these parts. Yes, we all wore sundresses and hats. Our boyfriends wore bow ties and starched oxfords. As for these days, MLS is correct about the uber-prep drunkfest. About fifteen years ago, the powers that be created a separate area called "College Park" for all the frats and sororities. Think Daytona in Lilly, Ray Bans, and all the other brands.

We attend the Aiken Steeplechase, which is much more "horsey". However, this year, I saw more college kids...

Thank goodness for polo and the Masters across the river. Some things are still sacred!

JMW said...

MLS and Bevy, very interesting insight to the goings-on at "The Cup." College Park must be what I'm seeing in all of the photos. It didn't seem to go with the stories I had heard about Carolina Cup tradition. So glad to know it's still there, they've just had to designate an area for the young-and-drunk (at Churchill Downs those areas are the Paddock and the Infield)

Jessi, enjoy watching the Derby with the new baby. Been there - you'll have plenty more parties in the future!

Tickled Pink, throw on a fabulous spring dress (with cardigan if the weather is chilly) and a wide-brimmed hat and you'll be good to go! Good luck with the auction!

About Last Weekend said...

Facinating! Growing up in New Zealand I have never heard of Vineyard Vines so this is cultural enlightment for me. Though I did do my senior year at New Canaan Hiigh, CT so am tres familiar with lacoste (these were the 70s). Am featuring a friend of mine - who does frocks who might peak your interesting, more modern nostalgia.

AEOT said...

I hear what you are saying, but I do have to say that I am loving a few things in their newest catalog. Maybe not for the derby (I've never been, though I already have the perfect dress just in case I am asked on a whim!!), but for my summer fetes up north, there are a few things I"m DYING for. We'll see what the budget allows for this summer.

Enjoy your weekend- get some golf in :) YOu know we will be!!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

Jen, Too funny! I love your snobby peek into a world I don't know about. But I would imagine y'all not taking too kindly to the likes of VV staking claim.

Next year, the derby falls on Stella's bday so I'm planning the whole party around that.

Kerr said...

In response to your question about Lily and Carolina Cup, yes. Lily and floppy hats are the unofficial dress code. I've been 5 times and worn Lily 3 of of the 5 times. I only saw horses 2 of the times. The college tent area is basically a giant field party, horses are optional! Absolutely no comparison to thoroughbred racing/keeneland/churchill. But a fun time nonetheless!