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Finding the perfect Derby hat is hard — sometimes seemingly impossible. But a Prospect woman is trying to make it much, much easier.
Lisa Lake Roedemeier launched her first hat line in 2009 after not being able to find the perfect hat. Instead, she crafted her own.
It turns out Roedemeier has a knack for millinery, so she launched Madam Foo Foo Couture at Rodes For Him and For Her three years ago.
Roedemeier, a long-time racehorse owner with the Media Thoroughbred Group, named the company after one of her horses.
The real Madam Foo Foo is now retired from racing and enjoying a second career as a pleasure horse in Mississippi. Roedemeier donates a percentage of sales to thoroughbred rescue and retirement.
Roedemeier said after her initial success, she decided to expand her line to include Foo Sisters, sold at Von Maur, Rodeo Drive and several other boutiques.
Von Maur sells Foo Sister hats in several stores across the country and online.
One of her favorite aspects is working with clients to find something that’s perfect, she said.
Roedemeier believes every woman can look good in a hat — it just has to be the right one.
Color, size, style, and even which side it’s worn on can make a difference, she said.
Her eyes light up when Von Maur shoppers rattle off their hat woes during a trunk show April 26.
She treats each complaint as a personal challenge. During the trunk show, she sold several of her own creations — but also helped several shoppers find hats by other manufacturers that she’ll tweak by adding custom decorations.
Roedemeier said she created about 50 hats for her two lines this season, but is continuing to do custom work up until the last moment.
She has help from Jonda Wiggins, another Prospect woman, who does much of the beadwork on the hats.
Roedemeier has two co-owners, Judy Steers and Carol Waller, but does much of the work herself from her Sutherlands home.
She said Philip Treacy is a design inspiration — one that influenced her long before he designed 36 hats for the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, including the fascinator worn by Princess Beatrice of York.
“He’s elegantly outrageous,” she said. “I absolutely love his line and his uncanny ability to balance whimsy and tradition.”
A stylish, petite blonde, Roedemeier has a discerning eye for what will look good and be fashionable.
This year, she said tangerine has been a key color, especially paired with hot pinks. Feathers and handmade flowers are other trends — but a Madam Foo Foo hat is never predictable.
Roedemeier said she started the business because she enjoyed creating hats and FOOscinators, the company’s line of fascinators.
“When I stop having fun, I’ll quit,” she said.
That time hasn’t come yet, though — in fact, Roedemeier is launching a lighthearted line called, “Oh, Foo” later this year.
The line will feature fun, festive headpieces for all occasions. It started when Roedemeier created a University of Kentucky fascinator for a fan this basketball season.
Turns out, the woman wore the fascinator for five straight days because she thought it was lucky.
Roedemeier’s husband, WHAS 11 news anchor Gary Roedemeier, encouraged her to take on the less-traditional pieces.
Now, she’s dreaming of parties where every guest receives a custom-designed FOOscinator.
For the next few days, though, she is focused on Oaks and Derby.
She’s wrapping up custom orders and will be at the track herself — with bobby pins in her purse to fix any wayward hat creations.