When Dana Johnson decided to take on the role of chairperson for the first annual Gals & Guys Hats & Ties event on Thursday, March 21 at Churchill Downs, she knew she was one step ahead of the game with access to the perfect venue to host just about any event.
As Churchill Downs, Inc.’s Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Dana is quite at home when it comes to organizing events. But she also realizes that it’s the friends and colleagues you recruit to lend a hand that are a key component to any event’s success. That is why she reached out to Julia Carstanjen to play the role of honorary chairperson.
I had the opportunity to steal a moment from their busy schedules to find out about this upcoming event and the benefiting charity.
LORI KOMMOR: There’s not a more exciting time for our city than the countdown to the Kentucky Derby and the countless events leading up to the first Saturday in May. There is quite a buzz about the first annual Gals & Guys Hats & Ties Silent Auction benefiting Dress for Success, being held at Churchill Downs on Thursday, March 21. Can you give us an overview of what we can expect?
DANA JOHNSON: Thursday, March 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. promises to be a night to remember benefiting Dress for Success Louisville at historic Churchill Downs, Finish Line Suites, on the fifth floor. (The event is) complete with fun, a fashion show emceed by Angie Fenton, featuring chic looks with models from Heyman Talent and hair and makeup styled by J. Michael Spa and Salon, a “strike a pose” photo booth, dancing to the vibes of DJ jaybird and great fashion finds with new couture hats and ties donated by top designers such as Gabriel Lamar Inc. for Frank Olive, Christine Moore Millinery from NY for hats, Vineyard Vines for ties and many others!
KOMMOR: There will be an auction of new and like new Derby Hats and fashionable ties that were donated for the event. Can you share with us the designer hats and ties we’ll see there?
JOHNSON and JULIA CARSTANJEN: Yes, new hats have been donated by some fabulous boutiques such as Rodes, Pix Shoes, Rodeo Drive, Glasscock, Crush, Clodhoppers, Sunny Daize, Dee’s, Macy’s, JC Penny and many others, updated on our website at dressforsuccess.org/Louisville. Fabulous men’s hats and ties have also been donated by Rodes, The Leading Man, Shirts, Ties N Links Men’s Accessories and others. The support for this event has been incredible.
KOMMOR: Most fashion shows are geared toward the female crowd. Why was it important for you to include men at this event?
JOHNSON: Adding the ties and the male flavor to it was all Julia, and is turning out to be huge hit. We even have male-centric shops calling to be a part if it! I believe that there’s never been a greater time for men’s fashion, with a diverse range of hat options, especially during Oaks and Derby. I’ve seen many celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Michael Jordan, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Tom Brady and Justin Timberlake all rock that look. There’s also a resurgence of great accessories, with a wide range of styles in men’s cuff links, pocket squares, etc., so I hope that “it’s raining men” on March 21, that the gents represent and join us gals to support a great cause!
KOMMOR: Dress for Success is the benefiting charity – how were they chosen?
CARSTANJEN: Gals & Guys Hats & Ties is a new signature event for Dress for Success Louisville. I am thrilled that Dress for Success Louisville board member and Event Chair Dana Johnson of Churchill Downs, Inc., asked me to be the honorary chair for this event, as it helps to build confidence, courage and strength in women from the inside out.
We are very grateful for the tremendous support from all our sponsors, and especially for The Voice-Tribune’s assistance in helping us to spread the word about this
Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 the day of the event. Tickets are available online at dressforsuccess.org/Louisville or by calling 502.584.8050.