The Melbourne Cup Carnival is all about creating fashion "moments". Well, at least that's what the myriad stylists, celebrities and brands are going for when they spend hours of time (and sometimes money) on creating the perfect lewk (that is, look in Insta-speak) that will cut through the white noise of social media and propel their photo to the top of the most-liked list. These were the moments that made us stop scrolling.
WE LOVED …
The neon queens
Melbourne Cup Day’s grey skies provided the perfect monochrome backdrop for this highlighter-pen inspired trend. Leading the charge was stylist Lana Wilkinson, whose custom Cappellazzo Couture dress was anything but safe. Honourable mentions to Jessie Murphy, who buzzed in a black-and-yellow honeycomb dress, and sister duo Marissa and Rebecca Karagiorgos of Twice Blessed, who switched their fondness for black for bright green and pink ensembles.
Lana Wilkinson makes a statement in neon yellowCredit:Gabrielle Connole
There’s something to be said about the power of a puffy sleeve. The '80s trend has been re-emerging ever since Rihanna wore a pink tulle Giambattista Valli Couture dress to the premiere of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets last year. The best example was Myer ambassador Rachael Finch's Oaks Day ensemble, which had us reaching for the remote to watch re-runs of Dynasty.
Drama in the sleeve … Rachael Finch on Oaks Day.Credit:AAP
The Meghan effect
From wide-brimmed hats to blazer dresses, the influence of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at Flemington was undeniable. Nadia Fairfax was best dressed on Derby Day in a Camilla and Marc ensemble with a top hat by Jill & Jack Millinery. Racing royalty Kate Waterhouse also stunned on the opening day of Cup week in an Alessandra Rich tuxedo dress.
Best on ground … Nadia Fairfax.Credit:AAP
Fickle weather and more relaxed dress codes mean the power suit has become a staple for the modern-day racegoers. It also makes a nice change from a frock when you’re pounding the Birdcage pavements for four days. Celebrities including Rozalia Russian, Olivia Molly Rogers and Georgia Love all embraced the trend but it was designer Effie Kats’ own houndstooth creation that won our suit sash.
Go bold or go home … Effie Kats with Shayne Tino.Credit:AAP
Derby Day left us wondering: where did all the right-arm sleeves go? (It also left us asking whether Australia boasted any designers other than Toni Maticevski, so prolific were his designs.) From Myer ambassador Elyse Knowles to Elle Macpherson, Rachael Finch and Brit Davis, arms were popping out of frocks everywhere. At least the women wearing them were half warm.
Elyse Knowles is chic in Alex Perry and $35,000 Bulgari earrings.Credit:AAP
Blue suit, tan shoes is so old hat. Among the men who shone was Fashions on the Field winner Palmer Mutandwa, who took the top prize in a tobacco double-breasted suit (and yes, he wore socks). Elsewhere, dapper men wore plaid, fedoras, pocket squares and suspenders that took inspiration from everyone from Don Draper to Frank Sinatra.
Take notes, lads … Palmer Mutandwa’s winning look.Credit:Lucas Dawson
WE WERE SURPRISED BY …
The tennis visor
This is a trend that takes “throwing shade” to a new level. The resurgence of the tennis visor has made it almost impossible to see who’s hiding under the brim and forces its victims to do an awkward tilt back just so you can say hello. From visors that had chains hanging off them, including a Ford Millinery style on Lisa Clark, to Jessie Murphy’s simple black lace, the jury is still out on whether this headwear works at the races.
Only Jessie Murphy could wear a visor and look this good.Credit:Gabrielle Connole
Shorts and no ties in the Birdcage
Never shy of a statement, P.E. Nation designer Pip Edwards stepped out on Cup Day in a beige Dion Lee blazer and matching shorts. Defying racewear traditions, we commend Edwards for her bold choice that certainly turned heads. Colour coordinating her suit with a Gucci boater, Balenciaga heels and a Fendi Mon Tresor Bucket Bag, it’s a look we haven’t seen since Bec Hewitt’s 2006 Melbourne Cup outfit. Meanwhile, questions were also being asked about the proliferation of men sans ties in the corporate marquees.
Pip Edwards puts her own spin on modern day racewear.Credit:Sam Dagostino
The two-tone suit
If you’re looking for a way to stand out amongst the suits, look no further. At the forefront of this trend is emerging designer and online store By Him. The store’s creative director, Shayne Tino, stepped out in a pinstripe design on Derby Day (seen above), and was followed by stylist Elliot Garnaut who wore a cream and navy version on Cup Day.
We could all do with a little bit of Elliot Garnaut confidence.Credit:Dan Himbrechts
Stars who missed the dress memo
There is always one visiting celebrity whose idea of racewear is somewhere between Texas rodeo and holiday casual. It’s what we like to call “pulling an Iglesias” after Enrique rocked up at the 2010 Melbourne Cup in jeans and a baseball cap. This year’s honour goes to singer Dionne Warwick, who sparked some chatter over her casual patchwork denim coat, which was only eclipsed by talk of Bumble guest Lara Worthington’s exposed hip bones through her Chloe outfit.
It’s okay, we forgive you Dionne Warwick.Credit:AAP
WE WERE TOUCHED BY …
The emerging designer's story
The races had plenty of tear-jerker moments both on and off the field (RIP Cliffsofmoher). At the Myer Fashions on the Field enclosure, there wasn’t a dry eye on Cup Day after designer Kate Watts took out the emerging designer award, revealing her label, Only One Ashley, is named for her daughter, who died in 2009.
Kate Watts with a model wearing her winning Fashions on the Field entry.Credit:Fairfax Media
WE SAID GOODBYE TO …
Hawkins' last hurrah
Take a bow, Jennifer Hawkins, who has been to more than 30 race days in her role as the face of Myer, a position that has now been retired, much like a star footballer's number. For her swansong at Flemington (although odds on she will be back at some point for fun) she wore a floral dress by Alex Perry, who has created many of her most memorable Cup week looks.
Bye for now … Jennifer Hawkins has downed tools at Myer.Credit:Simon Schluter
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