Kentucky Derby

Tara Lipinski On Working With ‘Project Runway’ Designer For KY Derby

Tara Lipinski and her ever-fashionable commentating partner, Johnny Weir, wowed viewers of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with their ensembles, and while Weir’s hat got most of the attention, Tara’s gorgeous pink dress and mermaid-like hair is the topic of conversation today on the web.

The duo–who appeared at the Kentucky Derby last year as well–often coordinate their outfits in some way, and Saturday was no exception. Tara’s dress was a strapless number that featured a lovely watercolor print, and she rocked a side-braid with loose waves that brought to mind a mermaid who has come to land for a bit. The effect was stunning, and former Project Runway designer Kate Pankoke said she was “fan-girling” at the chance to work with Lipinski.

“Tara is so sweet and supportive. She really let me have creative freedom with both of the looks, which means so much to me as an artist. On a personal level, I have had so much fun getting to know her and working with her,” Pankoke told People.

Tara says the dress was modeled after one Audrey Hepburn wore in the film Sabrina, with clean lines that allowed the perfect fit to shine through.

“I wanted the rest of the dress to remain simple and clean where the focus was all on the fit. We found a beautiful water color fabric and the moment we saw it we knew it was the one.”

Since Lipinski and Weir were in Louisville for the weekend, she worked with Pankoke to design another dress for Friday. That look was more fun, in a bright yellow shade that matched the feathered fascinator she wore.

As for Weir, the fellow figure skater chose a well-tailored pantsuit in a shimmery fabric that played up well for the cameras and soft shoes that featured a hint of gold. His hat, however, was the real star of the fashion show, as it contained a huge bundle of roses and a mint julep–the preferred drink of the Derby crowd.

As always, the event drew thousands of celebrities, and all of them rocked the red carpet beforehand, including Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Nick and Vanessa Lachey and Breaking Bad star Dean Norris were also on hand, but it was Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter Dannielynn Birkhead who garnered quite a bit of attention as she walked the carpet with her father, Larry.

[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]

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