Make no mistake, the Melbourne Cup is about much more than just horse racing. While the richest handicap horse race in the world attracts the attention of punters, trainers, and viewers from around the globe, the fashion and culture of the Melbourne Cup is another important aspect of this special event. Indeed, the fashion and glamour of the Melbourne Cup is one of the aspects that defines this event and truly makes it “the race that stops a nation.”
Melbourne Cup day is a major attraction in the city of Melbourne, with millions of people also watching the event on television screens and listening to it on the radio. Women and men alike are drawn to Flemington Racecourse in unique and expensive outfits, with the crowd just as much part of the show as the horses that take part in the great race.
Since 1962, when flowers, fashion, and favourites was introduced as a way to promote the Melbourne Cup centenary, style and glamour have played a major defining role on Melbourne Cup day. The Melbourne Cup includes a number of dedicated fashion shows and competitions, with a number of celebrities also drawn to this event in an official or unofficial capacity.
The biggest sponsor of racing fashion, MYER, host the Fashions on the Field competition, which includes both the Millinery Award and the Design Award. The finalists from regional competitions come together on Crown Oaks Day for the National Final, with each competitor’s fashion judged on style, originality, appropriateness, and individual attention to detail.
Headwear plays an important role in Melbourne Cup fashion, both for official competition entrants and the regular public. Bright bold colours and designs are also becoming an increasing trend, with women wearing metallics and waist belts along with traditional creams with soft pastels. Along with the official fashion competitions, the organisers of the Melbourne Cup have recently introduced the Emirates Stakes Day Fashions on the Field for children aged between 6 and 17 years old.