Entertainment Celebrity Spring Racing Carnival: The ‘It’ spots
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Spring Racing Carnival: The ‘It’ spots

Dita Von Teese
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As most of Australia keeps an ear out for the results of the latest Reserve Bank meeting, Melbourne will stop in its tracks for the running of the 153rd Melbourne Cup.

As ever, it’s not ‘the race that stops a nation’ that most people will be furiously Googling come Wednesday morning, it will be the toing and froings of the social event of the year inside the iconic Birdcage.

Like zoo animals prowling the perimeter of their enclosures, celebrities and the well-heeled will strut around the decadent marquees designed to promote the life out of the big brands behind them.

This year there has been no-holds-barred in the 32 marquees, with celebrity chefs, designers, DJs, and even gardeners, called upon to create masterpieces fit to watch (well, that’s the idea) the beautiful beasts dash down the Flemington Racecourse’s famous 450m final straight.

At department store Myer’s digs, burlesque kitten Dita Von Teese will decorate the room, along with US model Tyson Beckford and reality TV personality Whitney Port.

Curvy US supermodel Kate Upton will be on show at Emirates’ Dubai-themed spread, joined by former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

The money poured into the marquees is simply staggering, given that the costs to set up and run some of the marquees can cost over and above $1 million.

Emirates has spared no expense, flying in a troupe of belly dancers from Dubai, while G.H. Mumm will become a mini Moulin Rouge.

The food is top notch, too. Neil Perry, Chris Lucas from Baby and a raft of top chefs from around Australia will feed the masses.

So, who does it best? Check out our quick guide to the marquees below.

Lavazza
Supplied: Lavazza’s monochrome themed marquee will be more nightclub than day bar.

LAVAZZA

Theme: La Passeggiata – striking black and white monochrome, with a twinkling of lit wine glasses hanging from the ceiling

Who: Anyone who can wrangle their way past security, plus Bon Jovi legend Richie Sambora, Kim Kardashian’s step brother and reality TV star Brody Jenner and Sydney-based model twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark

Food: Chris Lucas (Baby), Tony Nicolini (D.O.C.) and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) will create dishes such as hand-rolled gnocchi in individual baby pumpkins

Entertainment: DJ Roger Sanchez, UK M People singer Heather Small

Decadence Factor: 8/10

MYER 

Theme: Aussie Homestead, expect oak-panelling and a colour palette of olive green and wattle yellow

Who: Dita Von Teese, Tyson Beckford, Whitney Port

Food: The Big Group will serve up crumbed barramundi burgers, bush lime mojitos and petite pavlovas

Entertainment: DJ Lauren Mac, Dean Cherny with Stevie on Sax, Chicks on Deck, The Faders plus shoe shining service for guests

Decadence Factor: 9/10

EMIRATES

Theme: Dubai, traditional desert architecture

Who: Kate Upton, Geri Halliwell, Kate Waterhouse, Matt Preston

Food: Emirates’ Dubai-based Arabic cuisine expert Nasser Iskeirjah – expect Middle Eastern mezze, Hervey Bay scallops, dishes, marinated watermelon with pomegranate and labneh

Entertainment: Arabian dancers from Dubai-based Ornina Theatrical Dance group will be belly-dancing up a storm, and there’s an annexe to have your feet soothed by expert therapists

Decadence Factor: 10/10

G.H. MUMM

Theme: La Maison – Moulin Rouge luxury

Who: Model and presenter Pia Miller

Food: Mark Best (Pei Modern, Marque). Expect kingfish tartare, mini egg and smokehouse bacon burgers and savoury tomato and parmesan marshmallows

Entertainment: Moulin Rouge dancers

Decadence Factor: 8/10

LEXUS

Theme: Japanese chic, look for the Jamie Durie designed Sky Deck

Who: Fashion designer Josh Goot

Food: Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill sliders, Izakaya Den’s miso cigars and wasabi tuna tartare

Decadence Factor: 8/10