So happy to be continuing the Derby Creative Louisville series with this beautiful gal. I met Kenzie Kapp last year when rounding up Derby looks for the annual shoot (promise it will be back next year – bigger and better than ever). I knew I needed to feature another milliner and when someone suggested Kenzie, I immediately knew I had to get her amazing pieces into the series. Walking into her studio and meeting Kenzie, I was immediately captured by her creative spirit. You can tell that she loves what she does and that every piece is special to her.
Now when I look at one of her headpieces, I can see a little bit of Kenzie in all of them. They all are filled with her light, colorful spirit and enthusiasm. I know that sounds a little ridiculous but if you’ve met Kenzie, then I’m sure you understand.
Kenzie’s pieces can transform a look and she’ll whip something custom up for you so you can be sure you’re the only belle at the ball wearing it. Fun fact: Kenzie designed the fascinator for Jill Baffert, wife of American Pharoah’s trainer Bob Baffert. So if you watched last year’s winner circle presentation, you saw a Kenzie Kapp original getting some well-deserved TV time. But she’s garnered her well-deserved share of attention with features locally in the Courier-Journal, Her Scene and Today’s Woman as well as nationally on Elle.com.
If you’re interested in getting one of Kenzie’s pieces, you can head over to her site and request a custom design. You can send over pictures of your dress and she’ll whip up something amazing. Feel free to use some of the pictures from last year’s Derby shoot for inspiration. Head over to her Facebook page for some more inspiration.
Last but not least, I love that Kenzie shares her talents with young girls every summer at Camp Kenzie. Little milliners have the chance to whip up their own designs while learning from Kenzie. There’s more information below but if you’ve got a tiny fashionista in your family, this might be the perfect summer activity for her.
* Name: Kenzie Kapp
* Title: Creative Director
* How did you get started in your field? Unknowingly, it’s something I’ve always done for as long as I can remember; it’s a part of my being.
* What inspires you? Nature, People, Travel, Life
* What three words describe your work best: Original, Meticulous, Whimsical
* What three words describe you best: Hair, Fairies, Insomnia
* One thing about you that might surprise people: My undying love for spray butter. It’s ridiculous!
* Why Louisville? So many people end up leaving Louisville, what helped keep you in the 502? “Home is where the heart is”
* Favorite Louisville Neighborhood: Cherokee Park! From “the Mill,” which is the studio, I have access to all of my favorite places in less than 5 minutes; Downtown, the Highlands, St. Matthews, Frankfort Ave, and the expressway is across the street for quick trips out of the city!
* Favorite Spot for a Drink: Thornton’s for a Fountain Dt. Mt. Dew; Life Bar for a ChocoMaca Protein drink; The Weekly Juicery for a Cool Kale Energy; and Anywhere for a Tito’s Vodka
* Favorite Lunch Spot: Chop Shop
* Favorite Dinner Spot: Le Moo
* You’ve got to try (or go to): Charlotte’s Web, so many hidden treasures!
* Favorite Festival: The Audubon Park Dogwood Festival. It reminds me of my childhood.
* Favorite Pizza Spot: Blaze Pizza
* If someone is visiting from out of town and only has time to go to three places, where do you send them? Depends on who it is. Different criteria for different people. But I dig the zoo, the Speed Art museum and 21c Museum Hotel.
* How did you get your start in millinery? Organically.
* What inspired you to begin designing? I was born this way. It’s who I am. It’s all I know.
* What colors, trends, styles are big for you this Derby season? I listen to my inner voice, trust my first instinct and roll with it. Each client is a new set of circumstances, factors, likes, dislikes, shape, size. Headpieces are not a one size fits all. Just like in Fashion, “Derby trends” are not for everyone.
* You make SO many hats at Derby, what inspires you on a daily basis? People. Everybody has a story!
* Derby season is a crazy time for you. How far in advance do you begin making pieces? Derby never goes away per se. It’s always there. I take steps back from it, but it’s become a year round affair.
* Fascinator or hat? Me personally, a Headpiece or Fascinator.
* Feathers or Flowers? That’s like saying “you say tomato, I say tomahto.” It just depends.
* What’s been the biggest pinch me moment of your career? Jill Baffert + Amazing Dress + American Pharoah + KY Derby Winner + Winner’s Circle = MAGIC
* Who would you love to design a piece for? Tina Turner
* Dream designer collaboration? My “Dream Team” – Maggie Kapp, Jenny Carlin, David Whitelaw, Jocelyn Hazen, Mari Bart, Kristen Davis, Nikki Katz, Jill Hertzman, Molly McDonald, Alison Brant & Summer Eliason
* Not only do you design headpieces but you’re sharing your gift with girls. Tell us a little about your camps? When I was a kid, I was enamored with my grandma, Mary Lou, and my friend’s grandmother, Grandma Nasief. They were amazing designers in their own right, and had incredible sewing rooms! I spent countless hours at their homes, soaking up as much information as possible. Typically, after a visit, I would plead with my Mom to take me to Hancock Fabrics or Baers. My Mom was a huge supporter, and with supplies in hand, I would spend days, even months, applying what I had learned. After I had figured everything out, I was back at their houses begging for more. That pattern repeated itself until I went to college. I was lucky enough to graduate from the accredited DAAP program at the University of Cincinnati. I have a collection of information relating to Fashion Design, and I love sharing it with kids who have the same passion. Camp provides them with an atmosphere to learn, design, and create. I guess now I am Grandma Mary Lou & Nasief!
* What do you love most about teaching the camps? The energy. No fear. No one has told them “the rules.” So they go for it. They are uninhibited. They create what they feel. I created a setting of all the things I loved about DAAP;: the camaraderie, working together, cheering each other on, but designing and doing your own thing. They feel the same excitement when it works out just the way they envisioned as we all did in DAAP.
* Do the pieces the campers make inspire you? Absolutely!
* What’s next for Kenzie Kapp? I’m really excited to do more with the Camp Kenzie Kids. For fun birthday parties! On the serious side, teach them more of the technicalities of fashion design; pattern making, construction, to go another layer. So if they do wind up in a foundations class their Freshman year of college they are more familiar with the terminology, supplies, etc. I would also like to explore classes for adults and then SLEEP, zzzzzzz!
Interested in signing up your little designer for a Camp Kenzie session this summer? Head over here for all the details and registration information.
Image of Kenzie Kapp by Antonio Pantoja