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
When it comes to racewear gone are the days of erring on the side of super conservative as opposed to looking fashion forward. These days you can easily get away with following the trends on the runway and applying a few race day rules to your look to keep it both occasion-appropriate and modern.
When it comes to being trackside, whether it’s Melbourne Cup or Derby Day I always tell people to think of racewear as being similar to an outfit you’d wear to a wedding or a really nice lunch with your family. It can be dressy but also keep in mind it’s a daytime event. This means nothing too short or with a plunging neckline, nothing too flashy like sequins or showing lots of skin. You can still go for a showstopper of a look but just remember to keep it tasteful.
Upping the cool factor on your look is easy, it’s just about knowing the right finishing touches to apply so you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
There are so many great options to choose from when it comes to headwear. Gone are the days where everything had to be matchy-matchy and your hat had to perfectly coordinate with your outfit.
If you don’t go to the races very often there are so many great pieces that can easily work for a party or a wedding so you can wear it afterwards and don’t end up spending a lot of money on just one amazing hat that you’ll rarely wear. Headbands are one easy and simple way to accessorise without going too over the top, and fascinators have always been a failsafe option. And if you do go down the hat route just remember when it comes to fabrication straw is for spring/summer and felt is for autumn/winter.
Prints, patterns, metallics and even a quirky cat face are all fair game when it comes to your arm candy for the day. When it comes to your clutch don’t be afraid to have a little fun and be slightly more daring with your look. If you’d rather keep your hands free to carry a glass of champagne or nibble on a canapé, just find a bag with a strapinstead.
I love wearing colour to the races as it’s so perfect for spring carnival. You can never go wrong with a bright hue or colourful florals, and it’s particularly appropriate for Oaks Daywhich has a more feminine dress code. Even with a more traditional print such as florals, you can always give it a more modern edge by going for an of the moment silhouette such as an off the shoulder look. Keep in mind too that when accessorising, headbands made from metal and jewels work particularly well with bright colours.
Sleek and chic
Wearing monochrome is a requirement on Derby Day but black and white is a failsafe option when it comes to achieving a contemporary look on any other day of the racing calendar. You could even go for an all black or all white look to give your look an eye-catching point of difference. This year I am loving dresses with a midi hemline and that particular length works well on a little black dress.
Vibrant colours, a heel with an interesting finish or strap detail are all great options for footwear. Just keep in mind that comfort is key as it’s a really long day and you’ll be on your feet most of the time. If you think that you may face a long trek to the car or to catch public transport be sure to pop a pair of flats into your clutch to change into later. Taking off your shoes is a big no-no.
Consider your entire look before adding jewellery. If you wear jewellery to the races you have to keep your headwear really simple. For example if you were wearing a sleek black hat, accessorising with jewellery can work really well but if you have a bejewelled headband I would keep accessories to a minimum. Statement earrings are having a moment and are a great way to dress up an outfit, alternatively a beautiful cuff or choker is also one way to inject the cool factor into your look.
Melbourne Cup is a day when it’s fine to push the fashion boundaries and try something a little out of the ordinary. I was searching for a dress to wear on the day and once I spotted this beautiful Altuzurra dress on Net-a-Porter I knew immediately that I had to wear it. I loved the beautiful textures, the high lace neckline and panelling and the touches of metallic throughout the fabric. It was slightly Victorian but with a modern silhouette.
My metal turban was a piece that was so elegantly simple but in fact was a few weeks in the making. The jewelers Sarah and Sebastian collaborated with milliner Jonathan Howard and created the beautiful bronze headpiece I wore yesterday. The design went back and forth for awhile before we eventually settled on the final design. It’s definitely different to anything I’ve ever worn to the races and I loved that it was so unique.
Derby Day is all about monochrome and this year I decided to opted for an all-white outfit with accents of black. I had fallen in love with this look from Stella McCartney’s latest collection and wanted to wear something that had a 70s flair so this ensemble was perfect. The tailored flared pants and wide brimmed hat were a great way to mix up a traditional race day outfit. I love a white on white look but I have to admit that I spent the entire day trying to avoid puddles!