Of all the days in the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Stakes Day is the most relaxed so I wanted to change things up a bit and veer away from dress territory. I couldn’t resist these pastel yellow pants and dramatic top by Jacquemus. The colour is fun and vibrant — perfect for a spring racing event. The top with its asymmetric silhouette and statement tie also adds a touch of drama to the look.
I was immediately sold when I saw these Ferragamo heels, most especially the gold column heel which adds a glamorous detail to such an understated design. In keeping with the trend for all things raffia, I opted for this Miu Miu clutch which has a light, summery feel and provided the perfect complementary accessory to the suit.
With such a strong outfit, I wanted to add some slightly softer pieces when it came to my jewellery. The pendant and bracelet from Chaumet features an adorable bow design, whilst the ring (which I also wore to Melbourne Cup) features a sweet floral design, all pieces that I think add a distinctly feminine, yet still understated feel to my look. To top off my look I went for a simple black straw hat by Nerida Winter—a sleek design that was the perfect finishing touch.
And just like that spring racing is upon us once again. This is always a hectic time of year for me as I have multiple events to juggle which means a number of outfits that I have to co-ordinate. And even though I’ve done it for years, styling just the right outfit can still be a little tricky at times as I have to take into account the dress codes, current trends and staying comfortable throughout the day.
One thing I do try and do every spring carnival is take a few style risks, experiment with different trends and elevate my look in various ways. It’s the perfect time to get dressed up and have a little fun with fashion. If you’re off to a few events, here are a few ways you can take your look next level, whether you’re opting for a bold, colourful ensemble, or a classic look of muted tones such as black and white. Here’s how to stand out in a crowd and pull together a winning outfit.
If you’re doing colour…
A colourful look makes an impactful statement so if you’re doing it, don’t be afraid to go bright and bold. Wearing a striking hue that packs a punch whether it’s shades such as fuchsia, a bright sunshine yellow or a rich green makes for a strong look. Now is the time to get in touch with your inner rainbow and try a few fun colours. I guarantee you’ll turn heads.
With coloured pieces it’s a great idea to also work with different silhouettes to give the look some further depth. A dramatic neckline, an elegant split or statement sleeves are all elements that can take your look to another level. The dress I’m wearing below works a vibrant pink with a Victorian neckline and an understated balloon sleeve and gives it a modern, yet classic feel.
It’s important to let your outfit take centre stage but that doesn’t mean you can afford to neglect your accessories. Quite the contrary. The right complementary pieces will enhance your look not detract from it. Headwear is a must at all racing events, so it’s a crucial component of your look. When wearing colour try having fun with your headpiece, incorporating texture and subtle embellishments.. My go-to is a great headband which is understated yet still hold its own, such as the star one I am wearing below. Other options I like include a straw hat or a beautiful turban, both of which I’ve worn in the past. Accoutrements should be the final finishing touch that completes your look.
When you’re doing slightly more muted tones such as black and white, it’s important to try and be a little more daring with the style and finishing touches to help elevate it. The black dress I’m wearing below features an on trend off the shoulder neckline, a textured finish along with a dramatic ruffled effect, all elements that that make it look far from an ordinary LBD. It’s a fun spring racing ensemble but with contemporary touches that make it stand out.
With black you can incorporate the colour head to toe, by wearing black accessories too, but choose pieces that have a little more edge to them to give the look some added depth. In the looks below I’m wearing two different headpieces, both of which are strong pieces in their own way. One is a beret which I feel gives the look a bit of a stylish edge, and adds an unexpected element to my ensemble, the other is an oversized bow headband which has a more playful feminine feel. Both are a great example of experimenting with headpieces—when you’re wearing black you have to ensure that your headwear is a knockout so the look doesn’t present flat.
Muted shades that are guaranteed to work—they’re classic, strong and have presence but it’s important to elevate them with the right finishes and accoutrements. By adding these touches, you are able to turn them into something that’s striking and different, whilst maintaining their general classic feel.
Christmas is just around the corner so it’s understandable you may be quite busy shopping up a storm in preparation for December 25th but it would be remiss of me not to point out that Net-a-Porter is having a crazy good sale right now. We’re talking up to 50 per cent off a looong roll call of designer brands including Chloe, Valentino, Gucci and more. So, now may be the perfect time to take a break from the frantic rush of looking for gifts for the fam (just for a little bit anyway) and find something to reward yourself for your efforts. Or you may very well find something unbelievable to gift to someone special in your life. In any case it’s well worth a look as you could find something that you’ve been eyeing drastically marked down or just stumble upon something you never knew you always wanted. If you don’t have time to scroll through everything here are a few things definitely worth adding to cart.
The perfection of the pastel pink shade was enough to sell me on this dress but it’s also well worth considering as a slip dress is a wardrobe’s best friend. Worn with sandals, heels, even sneakers, it can work for so many different occasions.
I tried on a few different outfits for Melbourne Cup this year and eventually went with this dress from Net-a-Porter by Alessandra Rich. I am really loving that brand at the moment and think the latest collection has some really strong fashion forward pieces. I usually like to go bold and bright when it comes to Cup Day and in this year I wanted to play with patterns given last year’s look was all about colour blocking and embellishment. I really loved the vibrant print of pink and yellow flowers on black whilst the bell sleeves and bow detail down the front help elevate it into a true statement piece. As far as my headpiece goes, essentially I decided that I had to wear this Gucci turban no matter what! Given its vibrant shade all other accoutrements had to revolve around it and I ended up opting for all pink accessories to tie the look together. Not only are turbans really in this season (I’ve always seemed to have a bit of a soft spot for them given my previous Cup Day looks) but the rose detail made it into a really striking piece. Melbourne Cup is usually always out there when it comes to what everyone wears, and this year I feel I’ve pushed my fashion boundaries with the shape of my dress and standout accessories… until next year!
As one of the more traditional days on the racing calendar, Derby Day is all about classic pieces in black and white. This year I wanted to stick to a mostly white ensemble and couldn’t resist this Roland Mouret jumpsuit from Net-a-Porter. I am really loving jumpsuits as an option for race day as it’s reminiscent of traditional suiting but with a more modern silhouette. With the sea of dresses on show it’s also nice to do something a little bit different and opt for a chic all in one look. To give the ensemble a ladylike and feminine touch I opted for a Jennifer Behr headpiece with net veil and oversized bow detail. My favourite Alaia studded heels and Salvatore Ferragamo bag help round out the look, and achieve a monochrome colour palette that’s in the spirit of the day.
When it came time to celebrate the start of spring and spring racing season with Net-a-Porter in Melbourne, I wanted a look that was classic and understated. Enter this white Miu Miu dress. I really loved the simple v-neckline and most especially the bow which is always a sweet finishing touch. Also I don’t know about you but I always love a dress with pockets—it’s definitely an underrated feature! I wanted to maintain the simplicity of the outfit so opted for a monochrome colour palette by pairing the dress with my black Alaïa heels. It’s definitely a combination that I can see myself wearing again and becoming a go-to ensemble for events that require a look that’s unfussy and polished.
I’ve lost count of how many spring racing looks I’ve had to pull together over the years but if there’s one thing that’s a constant it’s that I’ve got a few key rules I stick to. It not only makes it easier to zero in on the perfect outfit it also ensures that I am able to adhere to the dress code for each race day event with minimal fuss. If you’re planning to head to the races this spring carnival you may fall into two camps: colour or muted tones such as black and white. I always like to mix it up so I’ve done both multiple times and either can be a standout option—it’s just a matter of keeping in mind a few crucial style and beauty elements…
How to do colour
If there’s one day to go all out with vibrant colour it’s Melbourne Cup day. It’s the one day of the spring racing calendar where it pays to be a bit daring and embrace bold hues such as pinks, yellows and purples. The more striking the better! When it comes to Oaks Day you’ll want to dial it down and embrace feminine hues—pretty pastels are always a winner or do florals if you want to go with a print.
The important thing to keep in mind when you’re doing colour is that your accessories should complement not compete with your outfit. Headwear is a must at all race day events and if you’re doing colour a great choice would be an elegant headband (such as what I have in my outfit below) or crown for something fashion forward. A straw boater is great for something a little more traditional. It’s better to go for a simple, classic headpiece as opposed to being too over the top—way too many embellishments can really make your outfit look dated. Invest in the best quality headwear you can as it can really be the finishing touch that elevates your look from so-so to sensational.
When it comes to handbags it’s best to carry a clutch or a small bag with a strap. Leave your big carryall at home! You can either go for an equally bold colour or dramatic features such as metallic accents or a textured finish.
If there’s one day on which you must wear black or white (or both!) it’s Derby Day. I’ve often either opted for an all white look or an all black look as I find it’s more impactful as a top to toe ensemble. However the one thing both have in common is that in order for the outfit not to look flat there have to be textural elements and also a hint of contrasting colour with your accessories. In the case of my outfit below the ruching on the dress adds another dimension to the overall look, the same goes for my shoes which have a studded feature.
Monochrome accessories are often the easiest to work with as both colours are generally able to be worked back with a multitude of looks. Generally headbands work well when in a black and white colourway and are a great option for headwear as you’ll definitely be able to use it again. This season there are so many beautiful headband options with accents such as bows, flowers and pearls (such is the case with mine below) that you’re bound to find one to suit. You could also opt for a turban or a veiled headpiece for something a little more dramatic.
When it comes to your bag choice for a monochrome look keep it strictly black or white for Derby Day but on other days you may want to experiment with a little pop of colour or embellishment.
The most important thing to remember about a spring racing beauty look is that it’s a day event. So leave the ultra glam makeup for a big night out and instead opt for a fresh faced approach. I like to focus on having good skin on the day so ensure that I am sticking religiously to my skincare regimen and may even have a facial in the lead up to it to ensure my complexion is glowing. I find if you’ve got great skin as a base your makeup will sit well. Most of my routine involves at-home treatments, one in particular that I am loving is the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask which helps to reduce pores and brighten dull skin. If I find my skin is looking a little puffy I always use Anne Semonin Eye Express Radiance Ice Cubes which helps to tighten skin and reduce puffiness (it’s perfect in the lead up to a big event).
With spring racing beauty I think it’s important to look polished yet still very natural. In this instance I went for a bold eye and a neutral lip (I always choose one feature to highlight, never both) which I found complemented both outfits. To ensure my makeup lasts all day I use Kevyn Aucoin The Primed Skin Developer which is a nourishing serum that acts as the ideal base for makeup. I will always use a highlighter and a subtle bronzer to achieve glowing skin and accentuate my features, and I find both work well in the daytime. Lashings of mascara are always a part of any dramatic eye look I do and at the moment I really like Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara in Noir—it gives a great falsh lash effect. As the final finishing touch I have a mani and pedi and either go for a dark polish to add a bit of punch to an outfit or a neutral shade for a subtle, understated effect.
This year, my day started early at our apartment in Melbourne. That is where we stay with my family so it was great to be able to spend Cup Day with them. With three kids and a baby present it was certainly busy but it was nice that my girls and my niece and nephew were all with us. I spent the morning getting ready with Mum and my sister-in-law Hoda and as always it was fun for us to all get our hair and makeup done together. My outfit was already sorted (it’s always something I like to lock in well in advance) so it was just a matter of putting the final finishing touches to it and I was ready to walk out the door.
We were lucky enough to be picked up by a Lexus car to take us to the Birdcage and when we got there headed straight for the Lexus Design Pavilion, which as per usual was on another level. It was definitely the place to be in the Birdcage and stood out as the most stylish and sophisticated marquee. The interiors were amazing and the architecture of the entire building was striking. Guests in the Pavilion included Jessica Gomes, Emma Freedman and Margaret Zhang so it was a great opportunity to catch up with a lot of people. We had an amazing lunch experience in there too which involved a three course tasting plate hosted by Ben Shewry, the head chef and owner of Attica restaurant in Melbourne. Needless to say, the food was delicious.
I was also on Lexus ambassador duties on the day so I had to juggle multiple media interviews including TV and radio spots which is always fun! However the most enjoyable part of the day is definitely being able to watch the race with my family, Mum especially. She had a runner in the race called Excess Knowledge so we watched the it with her in the owners’ stand. It’s always really nice being able to take in the race with her as I know all the hard work that goes into making it to the Melbourne Cup.
Cup Day is always a crazy busy day and it often passes by in a whirlwind of admiring all the beautiful outfits and headwear, toasting the day with champagne and race day duties for me but it’s something I look forward to every year. Counting down to 2017!
Getting dolled up with the help of my go-to makeup artist Blanka Dudas
Test driving my Gucci heels
Selfie for Instagram
Sophia hanging out in the apartment
Outfit details close up
All smiles with Mum and Hoda
Heading to the Birdcage with a little help from Lexus
Walking in with Luke
Catching up with Nadia Fairfax
Doing a radio interview
… and more interviews!
The media at the Lexus Design Pavilion
A peek at the interiors inside the Lexus Design Pavilion
So many beautiful finishes
Impressive set of wheels on display!
The outdoor area
We were truly spoilt in the food and drinks department
When it comes to attire for the Melbourne Cup it’s all about going bold. And this year, I decided to embrace colour and opted for this beautiful pink and forest green dress by Gucci. The sweet ruffles on the sleeves give the dress an air of playfulness which really works for today and whilst the unexpected colour combination is striking it’s the pearl detailing on the back and front that really caught my eye – it’s so unbelievable in person that it definitely cemented the dress as THE dress for Cup Day.
Pink and green can be a little tricky when it comes to shoe options however it was Gucci to the rescue again. The gold heels dotted with pearls that I spotted in their latest collection perfectly offset the hues in my dress. With such a bold look, I wanted to strike the right balance between making a statement with my headwear whilst not overpowering the dress and shoes. The flower crown by Hatmaker was just on the right side of understated to really complement my overall look. The gems throughout the crown also subtly picked up some of the colours in my dress and really helped highlight the pink and green.
Derby Day is all about monochrome and last year having worn all white I decided to go for something completely different and opt for an all black look from head to toe.
I wanted to wear something that was sophisticated and sleek and the Balmain dress I wore perfectly fit the bill, with its high neck silhouette and intricate metal detailing. The midi length is a favourite of mine at the moment so the cut of the dress really caught my eye. One of my favourite Alaia heels perfectly complemented the look and headband by Hatmaker was just the piece to give the look a touch of drama.
Haven’t sorted our your Cup outfit yet? Check out my other favourite looks for Spring Racing here