For many Australians, Spring Racing Carnivals are more about the fashion than they are about the horse racing. It seems to be the only moment in our fashion calendar that sees tens of thousands of men and women flock to the trackside in their carefully thought out or, in my case, last minute outfits to celebrate this iconic moment in Australian culture.
The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in particular is spread out over four days, which means four themes and four outfits. The first day being Derby Day is a classic black and white theme, Melbourne Cup Day is a day to be bold with vibrant colours and striking prints, Oaks Day is more traditional and feminine, and Stakes Day is family orientated and a little more relaxed. And while the outfit, accessories, hair and make-up are usually the main focus for any other given event, there’s also the task of finding appropriate headpieces to co-ordinate with all of the above thrown into the mix.
As Lavazza’s Style Consultant I thought I’d put together a post on what to wear for each day. I’m sure you’ve seen endless amounts of Spring Racing themed fashion posts and outfit collages circulating around the internet already, so I wanted to take a different angle and mix elements of relatable Australian fashion with the magical atmosphere you experience during each day. With heads adorned with beautiful statement pieces many explain they feel like a princess during Spring Racing, so I wanted this to be a kind of modern day fairytale with a fantastical edge.
Luckily, Melbourne-based illustrator and photographer Kelly Thompson finally had a schedule that aligned with my own. I first met Kelly when we were both on location for a fashion campaign in Broome in 2012. We spent the following week bonding over sunsets, social media and photography. She was sweet, quirky and lovely to be around, which mixed with her supreme talents have led her far and away, working with the likes of Escada Paris, Nike and Maybelline New York. With her careful attention to detail I was astounded when she sent these photos back after only two and a half days. Every pencil shading and colour was perfect, and I was elated to finally collaborate after years of saying we would.
So here’s ‘A Fantastical Spring’; a collaboration with Kelly Thompson, Luke Shadbolt and myself. And please don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the making of this shoot. Again, this is just a fantastical take on Spring Racing Carnival attire created to inspire the imagination and encourage creativity. Like most fairytales the swans would be well and truly alive when worn on one’s head and would probably have the voice of Bill Connolly or Mike Myers, but that would be too obvious, wouldn’t it?