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While racing purists turn up on Melbourne Cup Day to enjoy a punt on the world’s richest handicap, the Melbourne Cup fashion is another aspect of the ‘race that stops a nation’ which draws the crowds to Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November annually.
Style and glamour are the two best words to describe Melbourne Cup fashion. Donning some of the year’s most expensive and unique outfits, men and women alike are drawn to the race day frivolities. With each new race year, the stakes are higher and people are turning up with more original and dazzling outfits which beat the previous year’s fashion display.
Since 1962 when Fashions, Flowers and Favourites was introduced to promote the Centenary Cup, fashion has taken off at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, attracting many more men and women who enjoy the social aspect of the event. This marketing initiative of Victorian Racing captured the imagination of the public, beginning with English model Jean Shrimpton and her one piece shift dress four inches above the knee. Without a hat, gloves or stockings, the tiny but beautiful model drew the media to Flemington and the Spring Carnival with her daring outfit. Since then, the Melbourne Cup carnival has been the place to try new fashions and wow the crowd.
Melbourne Cup Fashion Competitions
The biggest sponsor of racing fashion is MYER who now host the Fashions on the Field competition at Melbourne. This competition is an opportunity for the fashion industry to showcase its designs and for men and women to indulge in their ‘passion for fashion’. Along with the Millinery Award and the Design Award, the popularity of this event has spread interstate with Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Tasmania all hosting their own mini-competition.
The finalists from these competitions then come together on Crown Oaks Day for the National Final. Each competitor’s fashion is judged based on the style and originality, appropriateness of outfit for the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the individual, attention to detail with accessories (headwear essential), understanding and interpretation of the current fashion trends, grooming and deportment and suitability of the outfit for the climate.
With Melbourne Cup fashion aspect of the carnival increasing each year, the organisers decided to introduce the Emirates Stakes Day Fashions on the Field for children aged between 6 and 17 years old. There are six different categories:
- Junior Boys (6-10 years old)
- Junior Girls (6-10 years old)
- Intermediate Boys (11-15 years old)
- Intermediate Girls (11-15 years old)
- Senior Boys (15-17 years old)
- Senior Girls (15-17 years old)
The winners of the Senior Boys and Girls divisions are named the Master and Miss Emirates Stakes. As mentioned, the spring races are fantastic events to display the latest fashion with designers such as Nicola Fenetti, Wayne Cooper, Camilla and Marc and Forever New using the days as an opportunity to showcase their season’s wear.
Melbourne Cup Fashion Tips
A constant feature of the spring carnival will always be creams with soft pastels and off the shoulder dresses. Now that people are becoming more adventurous in their designs, bright bold colours with metallics and waist belts are becoming an increasing trend. Nude coloured accessories such as bags and shoes are also making their way into the race fashion.
When planning what to wear on the race days, remember to wear something that looks fantastic, but also remember that it needs to be comfortable. Adding Melbourne Cup fascinators and hats is a great idea but only if your outfit is not too flamboyant, and the most important rule of Melbourne Cup fashion…wear your shoes before the big day! You don’t want to be suffering from sore feet all day and miss out on the races.
Whether you are trackside at Flemington or celebrating the Melbourne Cup from one of the thousands of other race clubs around Australia, make sure you follow the Melbourne Cup fashion guide and dress to impress.
Also make sure that if you are getting in on the Melbourne Cup betting action on the race itself that you get a better price by placing your bets online at one of the trusted bookmakers recommended on this site including our preferred – Ladbrokes.com.au.