LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) — A New York native who has made WAVE Country her permanent home has fallen in love with the splendor of the Kentucky Derby. This love got her creative juices flowing. Now known as the “Hat Doctor”, Ilana Kogan made hats for Miss Maryland last year, Miss Kentucky this year, and is now a “Featured Milliner of Kentucky Derby 148”.
“She embroidered patches, hats, fascinators and hatinators,” said Rodeo Drive fashion stylist Christine Lund.
From ethereal feathers to gorgeous butterflies, Derby divas flock to the Hat Doctor’s comfy and flashy headbands and hats.
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“She’s a doctor in a hat,” Rodeo Drive Vice President Michelle Tasman said. “His hats are amazing, and I feel like they get better every year and more people have come out this year than ever asking for the Hat Doctor!”
Kogan is now an official Kentucky Derby milliner, and her work is featured in magazines, all thanks to a meticulous business strategy: packaging.
“Good night, hat,” said Hudson, Kogan’s 3-year-old son, as he placed a hat in a box. Meanwhile, five-year-old Gracie leads the marine division.
“Put a sticker on your hat,” Kogan guided her, “great job!”
“Now everyone sleeps through the night,” Kogan laughed, “almost potty trained, so we’re all in!”
Her clients ask her how she manages to care for two young children, make hundreds of beautiful fascinators for famous stores like Rodeo Drive, and maintain an Etsy shop. Not to mention that she is a licensed doctor.
“I think it’s wonderful that she has two careers,” said Rodeo Drive owner Raquel Koff.
“People can’t believe I’m a real doctor,” smiles Kogan, “they think I’m just healing hats, which I kind of am when I make them, but yeah, I’m a doctor.”
WAVE caught up with Priority Radiology’s full-time radiologist to find out how she juggles it all.
“I read x-rays, mammograms, CT scans, MRIs,” she said.
His colleagues were impressed when they learned of his stampede.
“Not many doctors have that artistic side of their brains,” laughed Dr. Lori Haycraft, radiologist at Priority Radiology, “usually we’re just science. … She’s amazing, she’s everything.
Kogan’s hat-trick journey began in 2005, when she moved from Queens, NY to Louisville to attend medical school at the University of Louisville.
“My older sister is also a doctor and she lived here first and she said, ‘You have to come here, this is the best place ever,'” Kogan explained. “So I came and loved it.”
When the self-proclaimed crafty doctor was invited to the Kentucky Derby, she made all of her friends’ hats and fascinators.
“You can’t wear the same hat twice,” she recalled, “so the next year I sold them all on eBay and thought I was rich, especially as a student! “
Even during her residency and fellowship, she kept it going to help pay off thousands of dollars in student loans. She said she didn’t know how she still found enough time to create so many hats.
“I love it so much, it saves time,” she said. “Basically, when the kids are in bed and I’m done doing my housework, I put on real housewives, have a glass of wine, and get to work in the evening.”
His technicolor workshop for all the beautiful Derby hats and fascinators, in addition to being a seasonal business, helps.
“I love the color,” she said. “I look at black and white images all day. I love the color; I need color in my life.
To view Kogan’s creations or purchase a hat or fascinator, Click here.
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