If you think Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir’s Olympics outfits were over the top, prepare yourself.
Lipinski and Weir first attended the derby together in 2014 — just a few months after they served as figure skating analysts at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. They were commentators at the Kentucky Derby again in 2015 and 2016, and took a break in 2017 before making their return this year.
“It’s the first real sporting celebration of spring,” Weir, who grew up riding horses, and even competed as an equestrian as a child until he had to give it up to focus on figure skating, tells PEOPLE. “I love that people bring out the pastels, the flowers and the pomp and circumstance.”
Said pomp and circumstance is what Lipinski and Weir are there to cover. They do features and on-the-spot commentating throughout the day, focusing on the cultural side of the legendary event.
“Obviously the race is incredible, that’s the big moment,” Lipinski says. “But the entire day is filled with so much excitement. Everyone’s excited to get dressed up and wear their hats and summer dresses and have fun with it. It’s the ultimate dress up day.”
The Derby is one of the biggest fashion-fueled events of the year, known for big hats and spring-ready dresses. And Lipinski and Weir — who are known for their over-the-top, embellished ensembles — take full advantage of the excuse to get dressed up. Weir especially goes all out with his hats, which he works on every year with designer Kerin Rose Gold. The toppers always reflect a Kentucky Derby-related theme, like Pegasus (2014), roses and mint juleps (2015) and My Little Pony (2016)
“Unfortunately now I’ve set precedent for my hats with the Kentucky Derby,” Weir says. It’s been really hard to one up myself.”
His favorite one thus far was his first, the Pegasus hat, which featured a “crown of white feathers” with a Pegasus face and golden hooves and wings worn in 2014. “It just really was me in hat form,” he says. This year, he plans to follow suit with the Kentucky Derby theme. Though he won’t give away all the details until Derby Day itself, Weir says this year’s hat’s theme is “Triple Crown.”
Lipinski is a fan of fascinators herself — mostly for a practical reasons. “I wore a hat the first year, mostly for fun,” she says. “Then I realized that’s not the easiest for television.”
She’s partnered again with milliner Christine A. Moore to make her fascinators for the event — one for Oaks Day, on Friday, and one for Derby Day itself. “It’s always fun to sit down and design with her, and see what’s new and fresh for this year.”
You can catch Lipinski and Weir on NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage beginning Saturday at 2:30 pm ET.