The race that stops the nation won’t be stopped by this year’s global pandemic – it’ll just look a little different.
That difference will make the race’s famous Birdcage all the more special, Melbourne Cup Carnival ambassador Nadia Bartel believes.
Because this year, Bartel says, everyone is invited.
“I love how inclusive it will be this year, with all aspects of the experience now accessible to everyone, wherever they live and whatever restrictions are in place,” Bartel said.
The glamour of Fashions on the Field isn’t going anywhere – literally – it’s taking place this year as a photo-based competition.
With a nod to invention, there’s even a bunch of new categories just for fun, including kooky hats and family mode.
Bartel will be judging Fashions on Your Front Lawn – entrants send in their pics on the day, the finalists are announced on Tuesday and the winners on Thursday at Oaks Day.
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“Just because your heels may not make it past your front porch, it doesn’t mean you should put in any less effort,” Bartel said.
“Racing is all about dressing up and feeling good, so I’m looking forward to seeing the unique style and elegance that Aussies are renowned for.
“I’ll take any excuse to ditch the sweats for a day.”
We’ve already seen people step it up for Derby Day. Black and white was made to be photographed.
Melbourne-based speech pathologist Olivia Molly Rogers, Fashions on your Front Lawn ambassador, donned form-fitting Misha Collection white dress with a classic Morgan & Taylor hat for her Derby Day at home, which she shared with her dog Ziggy.
“I first attended Derby Day when I was 18 and have the fondest memories of celebrating the Melbourne Cup Carnival over the years both on track and at home with family and friends,” Rogers said.
In New South Wales, looser restrictions meant designer and friend of the Victorian Racing Club Jasmine Stefanovic was able to throw a get-together at home.
The food, drink and frivolity of the Birdcage is being broadcast to whoever wants to join in this year – there’s not a lanyard in sight.
Lexus Australia has long been renowned for its culinary masterpieces, brought to racegoers by Neil Perry.
This year, it’s performing the almighty pivot with Perry curating gourmet picnic hampers for home delivery.
There’s no scones and cucumber sandwiches here – this is Neil Perry. Think tea smoked duck, beef tataki and delicate strawberry mascarpone cake.
Revellers can also recreate the atmosphere at home, by ordering bespoke decorations straight from the trackside designers.
The week of racing and all the celebrations that go along with it is available for all Australians online this year – where there’s fashion tips and behind-the-scenes content, food and drink inspiration and entertainment.
The Melbourne Cup is on Tuesday, November 3, followed by Oaks Day on Thursday and Stakes Day on Saturday.