Chrysler names top Derby hat designs

Let us preface this by saying most of us here at Autoblog know very little about fashion and even less about fashionable hats. So please forgive any foibles made in the writing of this post. Personally, my favorite hat predates the Bush administration and cost me less than a gallon of premium would now. So there ya go.

You might remember back in January, when Chrysler challenged the public to design hats in the spirit of the Kentucky Derby that would complement the new Sebring convertible. But we won't hold it against you if you don't.

Hundreds of submitted hat designs were judged on originality, the functionality of the headwear while riding in a convertible, and appropriateness for the Kentucky Derby. The three finalists (their entries are pictured above), were given actual Sebring convertible top fabric and funds to make their creations.

All three finalists are going to the Kentucky Derby this weekend, where one will get the grand prize, a 2008 Sebring. We assume it won't be the fabric-donating car used to create the hats. I'd check before I drove off, ladies.

Read the full Chrysler press release after the jump.

[Source: Chrysler]

Top Three Hat Designers Heading to 133rd Kentucky Derby

"Chrysler Sebring Hats Off to the Derby" Contest Grand Prize Winner to be Announced in Louisville Kentucky Derby Weekend

* Only three finalists remain in Chrysler brand's "contest with a twist"
* Finalists heading to the Kentucky Derby for special weekend
* One winner to receive an all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Auburn Hills, Mich., Apr 24, 2007 -

Creative spirit and ingenuity has resulted in a trip for two to the Kentucky Derby for three "Chrysler Sebring Hats Off to the Derby" contest finalists. One of these three finalists will win an all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible, with the winner announced in Louisville, Ky., Kentucky Derby weekend.

The "contest with a twist" began with hundreds of sketches of original hat designs submitted and led to five semifinalists actually producing their hats for the final judging to determine who would go to the Kentucky Derby. Hat designs had to be inspired by the styling and features of the Sebring Convertible and had to utilize a portion of convertible soft top fabric somewhere in the design. Additionally, the hats needed to be suitable for wearing while driving in a convertible and at the Kentucky Derby, known for its fashionable hats.

"Narrowing it to three finalists was difficult, as there was a lot of creativity and individualism in not only the designs, but also in how the convertible top fabric was utilized," said Susan Thomson, Senior Manager – Chrysler Global Brand Communications.

The three finalists going to the Derby are:

* Nina Rosenberg, Prospect, Ky., who wove the convertible fabric directly into the body of her hat
* Tanya Law, Charleston, W.Va., who incorporated black striping and trim made from the convertible top fabric on her white straw hat
* Cynthia Lundeen, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who adorned her large lightweight scoop hat with a "S" made from the fabric

The grand prize winner will be announced by a celebrity judge at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 4.

"Our three finalists have truly earned their trip to the Kentucky Derby by embracing the spirit of the Sebring Convertible and applying it to three unique hat designs," said Thomson. "We pay close attention to the detail and engineering of each of our vehicles and it was evident that these three finalists applied the same principles to their hats. They turned out to be fun, refined, and dare we say - even 'elegant'."

A panel of judges determined the top three finalists, looking at the originality and styling of the actual hat, the functionality of the hat while driving in a convertible and the appropriateness of the hat for the Kentucky Derby. The three hats were selected from five semi finalists who were given convertible material, seed money and about two weeks to construct their hat.

About the 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible
The completely redesigned 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible, arriving in showrooms this spring, offers a sleek and elegant design, exhilarating performance with excellent fuel efficiency and a spacious interior. The Sebring Convertible also offers what no other convertible has offered before - three automatically latching convertible top options: vinyl, cloth and a body-color painted steel hard top, all of which can be retracted with a push of a button on the key fob.

The Chrysler Sebring Convertible has long held the honor of America's favorite convertible, solidly leading the segment for the past decade. In fact, Sebring Convertible has earned the title of best-selling convertible in the United States for seven of the past 11 years. The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is poised to be in the winners circle when it becomes available in U.S. dealerships in the second quarter of 2007 and in global volume markets in the second half of 2007.

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