Race ahead at Spring carnival with 2013 trends
Words: Jane Rocca
When it comes to knowing what to wear this racing season, the key is to choose carefully, don’t chase trends you can't afford, and don’t go overboard with your outfit. Okay, maybe your hat gives you an excuse to turn up the volume on outrageous extravagance - but only your hat.
Essentially, you need to plan around the notion of elegance. The racing calendar is about daytime grooming not dark bar dinge, so it's better to channel a Church-goer's Sunday Best than the sins committed the night before.
For those that want to embrace the spirit of Paris reborn, there's plenty of inspiration to be taken from 2013's European catwalks. Hemlines are a good place to start. Last year Peter Pilotto were the first to embrace 'librarian length' skirts, but this season calf skimming hemlines, in either hobble or circle skirts, were near-ubiquitous.
Melbourne fashion designer Rosemary Masic, who runs her label Nevenka, is a judge at this year’s Caulfield Cup. “I am not one to follow trends, but this season women can feel on trend if they stick to silhouettes that are lady like,” she suggests. “Always stick to knee lengths and definitely no mini-skirts.”
The tendency towards separates, dressy skirts teamed with pretty tops, as seen at Dolce and Gabbana, Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga is not only on trend, but pragmatic.
According to Georgia Danos and Ilana Moses who run Grace Boutique in Melbourne, “this year is no different to any year. We always suggest an outfit that you know will take you beyond the racetrack. [Given that] skirts are such a key item for the season, the skirt and top combination will give great flexibility after the season is over."
For those attracted to something a little more delicate, the ongoing use of machine-made lace seen at race-day staple Colette Dinnigan’s Spring 2013 presentation, and to some extent at Valentino, provides texture of suitable luxury. As this is a carry-over trend from Summer last year, it's not hard to source in stores.
Take advantage of the black and white dresscode of Derby Day to try something a little off the beaten track-side. Chanel, Dior and Roberto Cavalli all showcased structured black and white pantsuits, and, while wearing trousers to the races isn’t exactly traditional, a ruffled Victorian blouse, or sheer chiffon under-layer can give the look suitable glamour, especially when paired with a Bianca Jagger via Saint Laurent fedora. “If you're going to invest in a hat, a classic Fedora is always chic and not limited to a race day,” Moses informs us.
If you’re shuddering at the thought of swapping your usual racewear for a pantsuit, or structural, wriggly skirt, don’t despair. There might be trends to follow, forecasts to note and catwalk couture we’d all like to own, but there’s a code when it comes to wearing fashion at the Spring Racing Carnival and it has more to do with honing your own style than copying the looks of others.
Australian designers are somewhat behind the international curve when it comes to formal day-wear, so floral prints and peplums are what’s flooding stores this season. Even though they were far less present at the shows abroad, looking like a bouquet or Jackie Onassis is always acceptable. Because dressing for the racecourse is a pleasantly antiquated tradition, it’s fine for your clothes to follow suit.