If you follow the Twin Cities fashion scene even a little, you’ve probably heard the name Anna Lee, and here are some particulars you might know about her: She created Voltage: Fashion Amplified, and then gave organization to local designers by founding MNfashion. She’s also a talented milliner, designing hats under the label Ruby3, now based at Workerby studios in Northeast. Here’s something you might not know about Anna Lee, although it makes perfect sense for a designer of hats: She loves the Kentucky Derby. I mean, looooves it. The history, the pomp and circumstance, and of course, the hats that are de rigueur at the races.
"It is the one time of the year in the US where a significant number of women are actively seeking statement hats and fascinators," Lee says. "My love of horse races is pretty much everything to do with fashion. And I believe it all started the first time I saw My Fair Lady—the scene where Eliza Doolittle is at the Ascot Race."
Lee introduces new hats before every Derby, but this year, she teamed up with local artist Allegra Lockstadt—she grew up in Kentucky!—on a collection of hats and illustrations inspired by the past 12 Triple Crown winners (those are horses that have won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes in the same year, and it’s fine by me if you want to pretend like you knew that).
"Where Allegra and I work so well together is that she is all about the horses," Lee says. "Together, we are a superfan."
Lee's one-of-a-kind hats will sell for $250 to $395. An illustration of the corresponding Triple Crown winner comes with each purchase. A launch party for the Triple Crown collection takes place at June resale boutique on Sunday, April 3, Noon to 4 p.m. Ruby3 hats, including Lee's full spring collection with prices starting at $195, will also be available at the Hip Pop Booth at the American Craft Council Show in St. Paul, April 8 to 10 and at a Fashion Week MN event at Shelter Studios on April 16.
Ruby3 Spring 2016 Collection
Tune in: Anna Lee talks to me about her Triple Crown collaboration, and more, on Shop Girls, myTalk 107.1, Saturday, April 2, 11:30 a.m. CST.