There are very few horse races around the world that grip a nation and capture the public imagination quite like the Melbourne Cup. It is a week long racing festival with the highlight being the Melbourne Cup race. It happens on the first Tuesday of November when the entire country comes to a standstill to watch the top thoroughbreds in the world go head to head to for a $3.6 million purse. This year I was delighted to attend the popular race meet at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne but of course I wasn’t so interested in studying the form or making a few bob on the GG’s, I was much more interested in the fashion and style on show
I had heard a lot about the Melbourne Cup, so I had high expectations, but I can confirm that it definitely comes out on top in the style stakes. Here’s a flavour of the fashion for the 2013 Melbourne Cup
It all started for me the day before the big event, beginning with a visit to the two main department stores in Melbourne, David Jones and Myers, the latter being the official sponsors for the prestigious ‘Fashions on the field’ competition. When I reached the stores I headed straight for the Millinery section. Now I know hats are popular at home in Ireland and the UK for race meets and I am accustomed to busy stores in the lead up to a big event, but I was not prepared for this level of excitement. It was like the doors had just opened for Boxing Day sales!
I can only describe the scene as a frenzy of activity with ladies carrying multiple hats on each arm, frantically trying on different styles to coordinate with their outfits. Many of them were stocking up with different hats to wear on each day of the festival. The beautiful hat displays had been replaced by mountains of hats stacked in various colours and styles, while the shop assistants did their best to stop any of them from falling on the floor! Later I walked around the city and could see every shop and boutique showcasing designer outfits and hats for the races. Melbourne stood out as a cosmopolitan city and the fashion on show demonstrated that it could hold its own with London, New York or Paris. Clearly this event was even bigger than I had expected and all the signs suggested that the fashion for the Melbourne Cup was going to be a sight to behold!
The following morning I was up and out the door first thing, having heard so much about Melbourne Cup day I could not wait to experience it for myself! I was in for a very special treat from the moment I arrived. It was a beautiful day, bright blue skies, sunny with a gentle breeze. An enormous crowd of 120,000 people had made their way into stands, members clubs, private dining rooms, lawns, fashion tents and everyone was dressed to impress. I made my way straight to the Myer ‘Fashions on the field’ competition to see the creme de la creme and was greeted by a wonderful array of elaborate hats and bespoke designer wear. In terms of styles or trends, anything went and nobody held back. Bright colours were prominent and looked there best in the glorious sunshine. Milllinery was huge on the field and there was not a lady in sight without the all important headpiece. As with any of these headline race days the competition was fierce but everyone was really enjoying the spectacle. Two competitions were held, one for the best dressed lady and one for the best designer wear. There were three rounds for each competition before the final winners were chosen.
I took lots of snaps while I was there but here are a few of my favourites from the day.
Later while I was mingling in the VIP area with my glass of bubbly it was a delight to get a glimpse of the infamous burlesque lingerie designer, Dita Von Tesse and the beautiful Canadian supermodel, Coco Rocha, both were there as guest celebrity judges for the competition.
I hope you enjoy the pics of what I can only describe as the best race meet I have attended to date, may there be many more!
- Emily Jean
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