The most iconic fashion moments in racing history


Racing carnivals bring with them a host of stars who dress to impress as they take to the track in carefully planned looks, clearly coordinated from head to toe. Regardless of the race in question or the season it falls into, celebrities and influencers are making the most of the photo opportunity that the event presents. Here’s a look back at some of the most iconic moments.

English model Jean Shrimpton is often considered the world’s premier model so naturally she caught the eye. When she attended Derby Day in Melbourne in 1965, she was wearing a white shift dress by London manufacturer Colin Rolfe. However, it was his lack of hat, gloves and socks, considered the essential dress code of the time, that became the main topic of discussion.

Source: Getty Images

The Australian journalist and businesswoman attended the Melbourne Cup in 1982 alongside Australian actor Bernard King. She encapsulated the style of the era with a suit jacket and a matching hat.

Ita Buttrose and Bernard King at the 1982 Melbourne Cup | Source: Getty Images

At the Melbourne Cup in 1985, Diana the Princess of Wales wowed crowds in Flemington. The beloved royal turned heads by donning a suit from British fashion designer Bruce Oldfield and a hat from Frederick Fox.

Princess Diana at the Melbourne Cup in Flemington 1965 | Source: Getty

The former Miss Universe and Myer Ambassador has certainly been a mainstay in Australian racing, judging fashion events and putting on shows. In 2006, at the Flemington Races, Jennifer Hawkins showed off a Myer-style ensemble wearing a Karen Walker dress, Fiona Powell hat and Manolo Blahnik stilettos.

Source: The Australian / Getty

The American sisters are quite simply heavyweights in the fashion world. They changed the face of running fashion when they went against convention and wore rather light outfits widely considered inappropriate for VCR dress codes.

Paris and Nicky Hilton at the 2003 Melbourne Cup | Source: Newcastle Herald, Getty

Eva Longoria at the Melbourne Cup 2005

The Melbourne Cup 2005 carnival was a colorful spectacle and leading the crowd was Hollywood guest Eva Longoria. The Desperate housewives The star was brilliantly dressed in a coral georgette dress, a matching Alex Perry cropped cardigan and a Jane Lambert headpiece.

Eva Longoria at the Melbourne Cup 2005
Eva Longoria at the Melbourne Cup 2005 | Source: NT News

The former Victoria’s Secret Angel always makes a style statement at events, and her horse racing fashion is no different. At the 2009 Caulfield Cup, she stepped out in a custom beige silk Alex Perry dress paired with a Nerida Winter headdress. The designer created the piece especially for her, saying “It fits like a glove”.

Miranda Kerr Caulfield Cup
Source: Harper’s Bazaar

The Queen’s granddaughter was the featured international guest at the 2009 Melbourne Cup in Flemington. The day she wore a royal blue dress from American label Thread Social and a resplendent fascinator from British milliner Philip Treacy. Fittingly, the royal is an accomplished horseman who even won a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

Zara Tindall at the Melbourne Cup 2009
Source: Daily Mail UK

Actress Ruby Rose doesn’t hesitate to go against the conventional. At the 150th Melbourne Cup, Rose attended the Lavazza marquee wearing an all-black outfit that defied race day’s bright color compliance. Her black dress, dark tights, ankle boots and watch turned heads.

Ruby Rose at the Melbourne Cup 2010 | Source: Getty

Although American at an Australian event, the Sex and the city The actress was flying the British fashion flag, adorning a sleeveless pink ombre Jonathan Saunders dress paired with a silver Antonio Berardi coat. Instead of a traditional hat, Parker wore a small, jeweled headdress crafted by his hairstylist, Serge Normant.

Sarah Jessica Parker at Oaks Ladies Day 2011 | Source: Getty

The famous socialite attracts eyes everywhere she goes. The Caulfield Cup Day in 2012 was no exception when it strutted out wearing a black Camilla and Marc jumpsuit with gold buttons. Instead of going for the traditional headgear, Lara added a sparkling rhinestone ear cuff as a standout accessory.

Lara Bingle at Caulfield Cup Day 2012
Source: Graham Denholm / Getty Images)

Channeling the vibes of Australian Oscar winner Audrey Hepburn turned heads in a white lace L’Wren Scott gown with black and white striped ribbon and bow at Flemington Racecourse in 2012. Sticking to the traditional Derby Day color code of black and white, the set looked like Hepburn’s character Eliza Doolittle in the classic 1964 movie “My Fair Lady”.

Nicole Kidman at the Derby Day 2012
Nicole Kidman at the 2012 Derby Day | Source: Vogue

Australia’s ‘stop a nation’ race brings out the best moments in fashion. International model Gigi Hadid certainly made a guest entry in 2014 under the UAE marquee. The blonde model looked effortlessly pretty in pink adorning an Alex Perry lace dress paired with a star-themed fascinator designed by Hat Maker.

Gigi Hadid at the Melbourne Cup 2014
Source: Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Princess Diana’s niece Lady Kitty Spencer is definitely following in the footsteps of the late Princess’s high-end fashion. Lady Kitty Spencer stole the show at the Melbourne Cup 2019, wearing a Stephen Jones hat and a heavenly multicolored dress by Roland Mouret. Since then, the British model has attended the next two days of the Melbourne Cup, which are said to be back this year.

Lady Kitty Spencer at the Melbourne Cup 2019
Source: Now to like

A regular at Melbourne races, Bec Judd always puts his best foot forward in fashion. Last year, the TV host unveiled a plunging pink and orange low-cut mini dress by Cappellazzo Couture with puffed sleeves and a sleek ruched bodice. She completed the ensemble with an orange headband from Trove, a pink handbag from French designer Jacquemus and stilettos from Melbourne shoe designer Lana Wilkinson.

Rebecca Judd at the Melbourne Cup 2020
Source: Instagram of Bec Judd

Confused about what to wear for this year’s carnival? You’ll enjoy our Fashion Guide coverage for the 2021 Spring Carnival season.

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