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kentucky derby


My guide to the Kentucky Derby

22nd May, 2023

When I attended the Kentucky Derby earlier in the month, I received a flurry of questions about attending the event. Everything from how to get tickets to where to stay and what to do in Kentucky. I would definitely recommend adding it to your holiday list. I had such a fun time being there, and I would love to head back again. Next year is the 150th anniversary of this iconic race, so if you’re thinking of going, it’s the perfect time to plan a visit! Here’s what you need to know…

How to get tickets

You can do everything online. Just visit to book your tickets. I’ve also been told that there’s a sweepstake running for the chance to win a Kentucky Derby Trip of a Lifetime. You would receive tickets, travel and accommodation, a paddock visit and race day experience, option to walk the red carpet, tickets to one of the galas and more, so definitely enter!

What you need to know about attending

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are all-inclusive events that include beverages and dining on both days for all ticketholders except General Admission.

If you’re looking to have a more luxe experience, there are a variety of more upmarket clubs to elevate your time attending Derby and Oaks. I’ve been told that next year there will be two brand new luxury clubs, the Woodford Reserve Paddock Club and the 1895 Club. The Woodford Reserve Paddock Club is a luxury club with tables to accommodate 2,4,6, or 8 guests and upscale amenities while the 1895 Club offers a Curated Chef’s table buffet and private amenities. The First Turn Club Offers a front row seat to the racing and the famous Kentucky Derby Walkover, where contenders and their connections parade along the track from the barn area to the Paddock prior to the big race.

Where to stay

Omni Hotel Louisville

This is where I was hosted during my stay and it was lovely. It’s a luxury hotel centrally located in downtown Louisville, close to Main Street. It’s a great place to be based if you want to check out the city’s bourbon culture and popular distilleries on Whisky Row.

21C Museum Hotel

If you’re an art lover, this hotel is the one for you. Located in downtown Louisville on historic West Main Street, along Museum Row, 21c Museum Hotel is a contemporary art museum and award-winning 91-room boutique hotel. It’s also home to the acclaimed Proof on Main restaurant.

The Galt House

The Galt House Hotel overlooks the waterfront of downtown Louisville (and is the only hotel in the area near the water). It is the largest hotel in Kentucky and it dates back to the 1800s.

The Brown Hotel

A Louisville Landmark since 1923, the Brown Hotel is where the traditional Kentucky dish, the Hot Brown, was born. The Brown Hotel is such a beautiful grand feel to it with its Georgian-Revival elegance and timeless Southern charm.

Where to eat

My advice: get a reservation where you can in advance. Over 250,000 guests head to Churchill Down for the Oaks and Derby, so restaurants can get packed.

If you’re looking for good eats, explore Nulu – East Market Street which is a cute, walkable area near the downtown area with shops, restaurants, bars. Try Biscuit Belly which is a popular biscuits (equivalent to our scones) and brunch spot. La Bodeguita De Mima Cuban Restaurant and Rum Bar serves classic Cuban cuisine & cocktails served in a bright, lively locale with a leafy outdoor patio. If you’re after genuine southern fare and brick oven pies, definitely check out Garage Bar.

For other restaurants in the area, try Jeff Rubys which is a nationally acclaimed steak house. Grab a drink at Nouvelle which is  neighbourhood wine bar or for an upmarket take on traditional southern food, try Jack Fry’s which is a high end American restaurant. Sapporo Grill & Sushi is a locally owned, family-friendly restaurant that showcases beautiful quality fish and modern interpretations of traditional Japanese cuisine. Also, add Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen to your must-eat list – this restaurant features an award-winning menu of Southern/American cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails.

What to see

Take a tour on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Louisville is home to 7 of the 43 bourbon distilleries on the tour. Check out the Old Forester – the bourbon used for the classic Mint Julep. If you’re a sports fan, pay a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum – this museum showcases the story of Louisville Slugger baseball bats in baseball and in American history. Also, definitely pay a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Learn how the Kentucky Derby got its start going back to the first Derby in 1875. Guests will walk through two floors of interactive exhibits, take a 30-minuted guided historic walking tour and watch the museum’s signature movie “The Greatest Race.”



Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Kentucky Derby

12th May, 2023

Experimenting with patterns, profiles and hues is one of the things I love best about racewear. Attending any race day is of course underpinned by looking polished at all times, but there’s also plenty of opportunity to explore the dress code in myriad ways. For another incredible day at the Kentucky Derby, I wanted to go all out and embrace all things colour. The Kentucky Derby is all about embracing colourful attire so as soon as I saw this mosaic-like dress by Rebecca Vallance I knew it would be perfect for the occasion. The striking kaleidoscope effect makes a statement but I love the softness it evokes with the puffed sleeves and the knotted bodice. Also, the maxi style feels very contemporary, tapping into the current trend towards longer hemlines.

The jewel tones in the dress inspired the accessories I wore, starting with the orange Nerida Winter straw hat. What sets the Kentucky Derby apart from other sporting events in the US is that attendees are required to wear hats or fascinators, and ever since the 1960s, it’s been all about embracing extravagant designs when it comes to headwear. The bold, oversized brim coupled with the vibrant hue and veil definitely nailed the brief. I loved that it embraced the vibrancy of the dress, and added a playful hit of colour to the outfit while honouring the race day dress code. Additionally, I wanted to highlight the emerald tones in the dress so this acrylic clutch by Katherine Land was a great fit. With its marbled effect and curved lines, it was the ideal finishing touch to this ensemble.

Credits: Dress, Rebecca Vallance; Heels, Jimmy Choo; Hat, Nerida Winter; Bag, Katherine Land

This post was produced in collaboration with the Kentucky Derby


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Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala

12th May, 2023

I always love flying the flag for Australian designers whenever I’m attending events overseas. This jewel-toned Toni Maticevski gown was perfect for attending the ultra glam event, the Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala. The star-studded event, with everyone from NFL star Patrick Mahomes and actor Chris Pine in attendance, had a black-tie dress code so it definitely called for a gown. Toni Maticevski is a designer I’ve worn to many an occasion and his designs never fail to hit the mark. His aesthetic is always so polished, yet his gowns always have a unique design feature or an elegant flourish that makes them stand out in all the right ways. It’s a super sleek and understated design but is elevated by the gorgeous grape hue of the dress, and the classic off the shoulder neckline. The subtle split helps finish the entire look, giving this dress a very after dark feel.

I’m a huge fan of all things sparkly for events wear! What better opportunity to wear pieces with luxe detailing. This crystal embellished clutch bag brought all the glitz and sparkle, adding some glam to this look. These shoes are also a party personified, with its glittery finish and crystal embellished straps. The pointed toe keeps it looking classic but those finishing touches give it a festive feel befitting of a gala event.

Credits: Dress, Toni Maticevski; Bag and shoes, Jimmy Choo

This post was produced in collaboration with the Kentucky Derby


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