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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Louisville Science Center plans Hats! Reflections in Time

The Louisville Science Center announced today that it will open an exhibit featuring vintage hats from their permanent collection on March 5. The two part exhibit, Hats! Reflections in Time, is being coordinated by fashion consultant and guest curator Jo Ross and designer Bob Stuecker. The project will feature two successive displays of more than 50 unique hats that have been refurbished by hat designer Gabriel Amar of Frank Olive Hats of New York.
The first exhibit, running March 5 through September 30, 2011, will feature hats grouped in 13 distinct categories according to their shape and will be displayed in the Science Center’s Discovery Gallery. Dating from the late 19th Century through the 1980’s, the hats have been selected to illustrate a wide range of colors, styles, materials and decorative elements.

“Many people might not realize the techniques needed to create custom made hats,” said Joanna Haas, Executive Director of the Louisville Science Center. “There is a tremendous amount of science and math that designers employ in modifying the different materials and in planning the exact geometry and construction of each hat.”

Gabriel Amar, owner and chief designer for Frank Olive Hats, has donated his expertise to restore the Science Center’s hats. He will be featured in a video within the gallery called The Art of the Hat, helping visitors understand the construction methods he uses to fabricate his unique one-of-a-kind designer hats. Amar will be at the Science Center on Monday, February 28 to help with the exhibit installation.

Many of the hats exhibited resemble styles that may have been worn to the Kentucky Derby or other festive events. They also have significance to the region’s history and culture.

“The hats within the Byck Costume Collection reflect over 130 years of fashion worn by the residents of Louisville and its surrounding area,” said guest curator Jo Ross. “The quality of materials, importance to the wearer, and the craftsmanship in this diverse group of hats is evident in their condition.”

Ross, in a previous role with Byck’s Department Store, helped the Byck family encourage members of the community to donate treasured garments to the Louisville Science Center’s collection when it opened at its present location in l977. The Byck Costume Collection now contains 15,000 unique objects within the overall garment collection of over 22,000 items including hats, shoes, and vintage clothing of all types. Ross and Stuecker will be working with Science Center staff on March 3 and 4, 2011 to carefully display each of the 50 hats.

Hats! Reflections in Time will be on display March 5 through September 30, 2011. A second grouping of 50 additional hats will be displayed from October 2011 through May 2012. The exhibit is made possible by a group of donors and with in-kind contributions from Gaby Amar for Frank Olive, The Kentucky Derby Museum and video production provided by WHAS Crusade for Children with photography, writing and editing by Larry Ledford.

Admission to the Louisville Science Center is $18 for adults and $14 for children. Member admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children. For more information, please visit their website.

About Gabriel Amar Gabriel Amar is the owner and chief designer for Frank Olive Hats, a well known women’s hat company started by Frank Olive himself. Olive developed a reputation in Louisville and throughout the nation as the premiere hat designer. He hosted extensive hat shows locally at Bacons and Byck’s Specialty Store, as well as at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and other specialty stores across the United States. In 1999, Gabriel Amar joined Frank Olive as the hat designer and in 2001, purchased the firm started a new company Gabriel Amar for Frank Olive. Amar’s designs have graced the runway at Kentucky Derby Festival Fashion Shows in recent years as the featured millinery designer.

Gabriel Amar will be in Louisville on February 27 when 20 of his designer hats along with five Von Maur designer gowns will be auctioned for the benefit of the WHAS Crusade for Children at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Since 1999, Amar has donated more than $90,000 in designer hats to local charity events held for the Kentucky Derby Museum, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Hospice, Stage One, the American Red Cross, the Prodigal Ministries and the WHAS Crusade for Children. His creations can be found locally at Clay and Cotton, Macy’s, Rodeo Drive and Von Maur.

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