We are excited to introduce you to the world of hats through the stylings of Cynthia Lee! She is known as a legendary millinery master and internationally recognized hat fashioner. For more than 12 years, Cynthia Lee has been creating sophisticated hats that make a statement for both retail and commission.
Cynthia Lee has always had a calling for creative couture. Her infatuation with hats began at a young age. She fell in love with Ms. Molloy’s Hat Shop from the classic musical, “Hello Dolly,” and dreamt that one day she would have her very own.
“What you focus on comes about,” Cynthia Lee says.
Cynthia Lee quickly mastered the art of millinery. This skill catapulted her into the art of hat designing- she would never solely be a wearer of hats again. One particular hat that Cynthia Lee prizes is her 1900 Edwardian style ‘education hat’ which took 44 tedious hours of work using a needle and plyers for every stitch. She knew that she could do anything if she could master the hardest hat.
It is the prime time to invest in one of Cynthia Lee’s hats. The Kentucky Derby, one of America’s great horse races, is just around the corner! On May 2nd the nation will convene, complete with magnificent hats, mint juleps, roses, and some good-natured betting.
People have been glamming up to gawk at this legendary horse race since 1875. In 2020, the race will celebrate it’s 146th year. If you would like to experience the Derby without commuting all the way to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, Denver hosts its own Mini Derby. It features a viewing party followed by a race with their own miniature horses!
Whether you are attending the Kentucky Derby itself, Denver’s Mini Derby, or hosting your own party, you will want to get derbied up for these events. Whichever way you celebrate the Derby, one thing is for certain- you are going to need a hat.
Cynthia Lee is internationally renowned. Her hats have been displayed at the Denver Museum of Natural History and Science, the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Royal Ascot Racecourse in England, and on Broadway. She hung up her own hat from competition after she won an Employee’s Choice and Judge’s Choice award.
“It’s always best to quit while you're ahead,” she jokes.
Not only does Cynthia Lee produce award winning masterpieces, she and her husband make their own hat blocks (the mechanism used to shape hats) from recycled materials. The phrase, “Do it yourself, or make do,” has always inspired Cynthia Lee’s motivated attitude. To this day, she still uses repurposed water pressure tanks, pots, and pans to create her own hat shapes. By doing this, she did not have to invest hundreds of dollars in individual hat blocks.
“I’ve never created the same hat twice. I’m constantly pulling inspiration from everywhere, including nature,” Cynthia Lee says.
Cynthia Lee created hats inspired by rhubarb plants and the landing patterns of birds. She utilizes everything she can and has quite the collection of vintage feathers, broken antique necklaces, lonely single earrings, and many lost jewels she repurposes into showpieces. She often makes custom hats for clients using their own special items. In the past, this has included hats made from pieces of a wedding dress and hats with photos of loved ones tucked under the brim.
Despite all that she has done, this is still just the beginning for Cynthia Lee.
“There is so much out there and so much I still want to do. I got lots of life to live and lots of hats to wear,” she says.
Let’s tip our hats to Cynthia Lee, a creator of intentional fashion mixed with love and quiet blessings. Her hats are more than works of art. They are works of heart.
A great excuse to wear one of Cynthia Lee’s beautiful hats is to host a Derby Party. I am surely willing to put a wager on a good time! Though the horse race itself only grabs your attention for 120 short seconds, you can party the whole day away. Here are some fun tips:
Mint Juleps are a necessity! These iced drinks consist of bourbon, powdered sugar, and a mint leaf garnish.
Decorate with roses! While the red rose blanket draped over the Derby winner consists of 554 red roses, a dozen or so will do on your Derby table.
Make Burgoo for dinner. Though the name is funny, this thick stew is delicious. Burgoo consists of beef, chicken, pork, and vegetables.
Create a playlist of related songs. A suggestion- Stephen Foster's “My Old Kentucky Home.”
May your hats be fabulous and memories great, make sure to grab your Derby hat before it’s too late!
Check out these fashionable Cynthia Lee custom hats for yourself at:
Cynthia Lee Hats can also be purchased at:
The Masonville Mercantile, 9120 N Co Rd 27, Masonville or dial 970-667-4058