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hat Melbourne cup fashion

Melbourne Cup Hats

Like Royal Ascot in the UK, this is the week when Australians dress to impress, showcase their passion for fashion, and don clothes and hats made by the world’s greatest designers. It’s a fashion, racing, and social occasion, that attract men and women from all walks of life, from Australia’s political and entertainment elite to your average Joe, they’ll all be immersing themselves in the occasion.

Melbourne Cup Hat

The Melbourne cup was first run in 1861 and is known as “the race that stops a nation” ™. Held at the Flemington racecourse, the event is staged by the Victoria Racing Club and is the richest handicap in the world!

Melbourne Cup Festival

However, the Melbourne Cup is just one day within the Melbourne Cup Carnival – a four-day festival of the very best horse racing, and the height of the Australia social calendar.  The Melbourne Cup is run on the Thursday of an incredible week of racing in Australia with the Derby, Melbourne Cup, Oaks and Stakes all being run over four glorious days in the state of Victoria.

At its height it attracted over 400,00 visitors to the track during the week. Originally run over two miles, the race has gone metric, and now takes shape over 2300 meters. Last year’s winner was Gold Trip, a 20-1 shot, who won by two lengths.

Like Royal Ascot in the UK, this is the week when Australians dress to impress, showcase their passion for fashion, and don clothes and hats made by the world’s greatest designers. It’s a fashion, racing, and social occasion, that attract men and women from all walks of life, from Australia’s political and entertainment elite to your average Joe, they’ll all be immersing themselves in the occasion.

Racing Enclosures and Marquees

There are four main enclosures at the Melbourne Cup’ Club: General Admission, Lawn Stand, Club Lawn and the Hill Stand. However, it’s the exclusive marquees, that are situated around the course, that are the places to be seen in and enjoy.

Birdcage Melbourne Cup

The preserve of the crème de la crème of Australian society this is the place where they can party and watch the Melbourne Cup from. An exclusive marquee only available to full members of the Victoria Racing Club, or if you are invited as a guest. Unless you are the head of a business empire, a supermodel, celebrity, or rock star it’s unlikely you’ll be seen in this exclusive marquee. In 2022 Lexus, Mumm Champagne and Penfolds (Wine) were the major sponsors.

There are many other hospitality and corporate packages you can buy and enjoy exquisite dining and have a trackside view from, so for certain this is a four-day long celebration of life, racing and fashion!

Melbourne Festival Dress Code

In 1962 the Victoria Racing club established the “Fashion on the Field” event, to encourage women to the racetrack and event, by celebrating the most well-dressed and elegant women at the course. In 2001 men were also invited to enter to display their sartorial best.  Myer, Australia’s largest department store sponsors “Fashion on the Field” during the festival. It the chance for women, men, boys, and girls of all ages to enter a daily fashion competition, with the final being held later in the week on Oaks Day. It’s the ideal spot to showcase the latest fashions, designs, materials, and styles. You can be achingly chic or outrageously glamorous.

A few years ago, Vivien herself was honoured to judge fashions on the field and attended the Birdcage for the full five days of the festival. This experience has given her a personal understanding of the atmosphere, fashions, and styles that make this social carnival so wonderful, and this is reflected in the styles created for this year’s festival.

There’s no specific dress code for any of the enclosures or marquees – but everyone wants to be at their very best – it’s a chance to flex your fashion muscles! There is a dress code guideline for members, which states that gentlemen should wear a suit and or tailored trousers, sports coat, blazer, tie, and dress shoes. Women are expected to dress appropriately for such a prestigious event. Strictly, no jumpsuits, outfits showing your midriff, leggings, denim, or jeans.

Hats and fascinator are worn – why would you not seize the opportunity - but not insisted upon!  

On Penfolds Derby Day it is traditional to dress and style yourself in black and white – a theme that Australia’s fashion capital pursues with elegance and vigour.

Nowadays many celebrities are asked to wear and promote brands, clothing, jewellery, and hats from the very best designers from around the world during the week, showcasing the unstoppable elegance of Australia’s fashion capital. The Melbourne Festival gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a world of luxury, as you indulge in an array of sumptuous dining, beverages, and high fashion from start to end.

Melbourne Hats and Fascinators

Hats and fascinators are not compulsory at the Melbourne Festival, but why waste the opportunity to wear one and stand-out from the crowd? Following on from this year’s Royal Ascot, where wide brimmed hats and headbands dominated, at Vivien Sheriff we believe the following styles will deliver the colour and drama befitting of this great occasion and delivery that all-eyes-on-you touch to your outfit.

Aida

An outstanding creation from our Wiltshire design studios. A hand formed sisal base, trimmed with a mixture of elegant pheasant and goose feathers. A luxury hat for the birdcage enclosure at the Melbourne Cup.

 

Melbourne Cup Hat

Nightingale

The Lexus Melbourne Cup Day beckons! This exquisite piece of artistry is handmade with durable parasisal, delicately free formed to create an organic and luxurious design. Metal eyelets with hand curled and trimmed goose feather and quills, adding the perfect balance of elegance. To top it off, each fascinator is finished with beautiful handmade feather flowers for a truly unique look for the enclosures at the Melbourne Cup. 

 

Melbourne Cup Fascinator

 

Pimpernel

A staggeringly beautiful and creative ripple sinamay disc with a spray of pheasant and peacock feathers. All eyes on you when you wear this quintessentially British designer hat for the Melbourne Cup 2023.

Melbourne Cup Luxury Hat

Rosehip

A truly inspired headpiece of British millinery, this floral artwork has been designed and made in our Wiltshire studio. A creation combining lace, silk flowers and veiling it is an exemplary designer Melbourne Cup head piece for 2023.

Melbourne cup luxury fascinator

Kongo

Make a statement at the Melbourne Cup Carnival with this gorgeous, elegant hat. The striking feathers are arranged on a large wide brim base for an eye-catching look that oozes sophistication and style. It's perfect for the winner's enclosure or the Fashion on the Field competition.

Ladies Melbourne Cup Hat

 

Other Melbourne Cup Hats are

Cheyenne

Lovage