Gunnar Deatherage and I started collaborating on custom Derby attire and suits in 2017. I wanted pieces that went beyond the traditional notions of men’s wear for the Kentucky Derby, and tailored suits that were contemporary, versatile, and bold. From our inspiration and ideas Gunnar creates fusion pieces that bring the concepts to life - which is why collaborating with him is one of my favorite things to do each year.
Gunnar, who was previously based in Louisville, KY and now resides in L.A., has been a contestant on seasons 9 & 10 of Lifetime’s Project Runway, where he presented his Spring/Summer 2012 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Gunnar has built his namesake brand by creating innovative collections that have been shown around the country in cities like Austin, Portland, Miami, New York, Dallas, Houston, and Birmingham, and by working with bands, celebrities, and various clients to provide private costuming, styling, set design, and creative consulting.
Our collaborations are an exciting experiment, and have been inspired by everything from The Met Costume Institute’s exhibit featuring the work of Rei Kawakubo, who is known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, to our 2019 emphasis for Derby on movement and texture - including floating rooster feathers on the hat and the hand sewn ostriche feather detailing on the top.