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Radley Stories

Craft & Design

From London to Louisville: Meet The New Kentucky Derby Collection

14 March 2023

The social event of the season. And a place of iconic style. The 149th Kentucky Derby is taking place this year at Churchill Downs on Saturday 6th May. And we’re so excited to be back as the Official Handbag Licensee Partner with a brand-new collection. 

These designs are inspired by the Run for the Roses and are exclusively available in the US, which means you can carry a little bit of Radley London style to Louisville (or wherever you’ll be celebrating). To tell us all about the collection, we've spoken to Sally, one of our talented Designers, and Aimee from our US team.

How did the Kentucky Derby inspire this year’s collection?

“This season, we really wanted to celebrate the Kentucky Derby rose by adding it as a charm. The construction of it is very intricate with hand painted edges on each of the leather petals.”

“The Derby is one of those cultural moments that everyone stops to celebrate (with a mint julep in hand).” – Aimee, US Marketing Manager

We’ve made a few Kentucky Derby collections before. Are there any favorite design details you’ve brought back for these new styles? 

“The horse illustrations are something we do every year, not just to celebrate the race but also because we know how much our customers love them! 

“We also like to use bridle-inspired hardware on our racing collections, which you’ll find across some of the bags in our new Spring collection too.”


Can you tell us more about the craftsmanship in this collection? 

“As always, the collection features a large amount of craft details throughout – from inlay appliqué and screen print horses to our cut-edge leather rose charms. It also features some leather whipstitch details, which are used a lot on traditional equestrian bridlewear.”

“Whether attending the race in person or throwing your own Derby watch party at home, everyone dresses the part. So, a handbag from this collection is the perfect accessory to complete any Derby look.” – Aimee, US Marketing Manager

How did you choose the bag shapes for this drop?

“We really wanted these to tie in with our Spring collection so customers could enjoy solid colors of these styles, as well as the special racing editions. 

Linden Gardens is a really important occasion shape at the moment as the ‘90s baguette is everyone’s go to. The soft bow on Clarence Road also makes this structured shape more feminine, while our chain styles offer a classic look. They’re always a fail-safe choice for events.”

What’s your favorite bag from the collection? 

“I love Linden Gardens. It’s the perfect size for carrying essentials, like your phone, keys and make-up. And it fits neatly under your arm or by your side. The zip closure means your belongings are super safe on the day too. I’d pair the white bag with a floral print dress to tie in the with rose charm.”

“This year’s collection incorporates a great neutral color palette that will go with any Derby fit. And an extra plus, they are also within size regulations for attending the event in person.” – Aimee, US Marketing Manager

Thank you, Sally and Aimee. We’ve loved hearing about all the details behind these new Kentucky Derby designs. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to go behind-the-scenes during race week, where we’ll have more style tips from some of our favorite fashion experts.