AAMI Victoria Derby Day, Flemington Racecourse, Oct 29
Like a bunch of hyperglycemic kids after a hit of birthday cake, Derby Day brings on a kind of frenzied excitement you can get carried away with. Maybe that’s why we have to wear black and white on day one: let us loose in bright pink or neon yellow early on and our tiny minds might explode.
This year’s Derby saw plenty of black and white going round but the rule was broken by a stylish few, opting for a subdued palette of deep reds, greens and blues, with a preference for classic, bespoke tailoring. Vintage, knee-length gowns were a popular choice, channeling Derby Day’s guest of honour, Deeta von Teese, with elegant gloves, fur stoles and 1940s-inspired hats as accessories du jour.
Rubbing shoulders with Ms Von Teese in the Birdcage was Mel B in a figure-hugging leopard print dress and Top Model’s Miss Jay in a sleek black suit and hat piled up high with a croquembouche of black and white flowers. As for local celebs, footballers and WAGS were out in force, with the Judds and Nathan Buckley congregating around the Lavazza marquee.
In the Birdcage, prune-faced posing was not so much frowned upon as paid by the hour: Lavazza hired models to stand in the window of their marquee sipping lukewarm cups of coffee at a torturously slow pace (so as not to detract from their superior hotness). Meanwhile, the Myer marquee generated the most hype with an endless queue of celebs and hangers-on circulating out front, despite offering a disappointingly plain marquee inside.
Emirates pulled no punches with their Russian royalty-inspired theme but it was one that seemed out-of-place on an uncharacteristically sunny Melbourne springtime day. Less grandiose but design-savvy was the Johnny Walker marquee, filled with mirrors, trees and tables suspended by leather saddle-straps. Fruche’s marquee was cute as a button, serving milkshakes in little bottles with candy-striped straws. But the best marquee by far in terms of set up and fun vibes has to go to Boags: the upper deck offered prime position to simultaneously watch the track and gawk at celebrities below, not to mention a waterfall behind the bar, wall to wall.
Incidentally, there were a few horse races happening on the day and Lady Luck was not so much smiling as trying to make out with me, coming through with a winner or place-getter on four races in a row. My strategy was to dispose of my form guide and select horses according to the awesomeness of their name (exhibit A: Temple of Boom). Really, it’s a science.
Words: Annie Davis