For Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, Derby fashion elicits awe — and some anxiety

jpatton1@herald-leader.comMay 3, 2014 

As Olympic figure skaters-turned-sports commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski waited to go on the air at the Kentucky Derby, they surveyed the panoply of fashion and faux pas surrounding the paddock at Churchill Downs.

"It's a cultural moment, kind of like the Olympics," said Weir, who wore a white suit and a gravity-defying hat with a Pegasus nestled on top. He said a good friend made the chapeau for him.

Between make-up touchups, Weir posed with fans for pictures, including Oprah Winfrey's BFF, Gayle King.

And took a few questions.

What's the prettiest thing you've seen at Derby? "Tara Lipinski," he said.

What's the strangest thing? "Oddly enough, I've seen a lot of girls out there with pretty spring dresses with, like, a winter 'hooker' boot. and I find that strange. It's rough, a little bit. It makes me nervous."

This is actually Weir's second Derby, but probably won't be the last: "This is an event I'll always look forward to," he said.

And Lipinski? "I'm having such a blast," she said. "I definitely will come back."

Lipinski wore a rose-colored Oliver Tolentino dress, with a face-framing hat.

What's the strangest thing you've seen? "Some crazy hats," she said. "Large and in charge. But (it) is the Kentucky Derby, so go big or go home."

And the prettiest? "I've seen some gorgeous women in beautiful outfits, with a lot of neon accents. And I think it's really cool," she said.

She and Weir were about to dive deep into Kentucky culture: They were going on the air with Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris to make one of the bourbon distillery's $1,000 mint juleps

Had she had one? "I have not. I'm excited," Lipinski said.

Another Derby tradition: betting.

Was Weir still going with Danza, as he had said earlier in the week? Sort of.

He's saving his money for other things.

"I'm not betting at all. I like buying shoes and bags, not betting," Weir said. "But I put a little bit of money down for my parents on Danza and Dance With Fate."

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl

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