For the many models, WAGs, social media influencers, bloggers and reality television stars who enter Melbourne Cup’s elite Birdcage enclosure, preparation for the big day starts early.
Nadia Bartel, the fashionista wife of former AFL player Jimmy Bartel, was up before sunrise to get a 6AM appointment at her in-demand Prahran hairdresser Marie Uva, then had her makeup artist meet her at her home – in between making breakfast for her two-year-old son.
Myer ambassador Jennifer Hawkins, meanwhile, locked in her flouncy Alex Perry gown a month ahead.
“To avoid what happened on Derby Day,” Hawkins joked, referring to the incident where she wore the same dress as Channel Seven presenter Francesca Cumani.
So whose preparation paid off? We break down the 10 standout looks from Cup Day.
Elyse Knowles: In a bright orange Cappellazzo Couture with a statement shoulder, plenty of leg and an elaborate gold fascinator, The Block winner could have looked a little over the top. Instead, she somehow managed to make the ensemble look chic, modern and surprisingly understated.
Rozalia Russian: The Schweppes ambassador and fashion-forward blogger scored a not-yet-on-the-rack Nicola Finetti gown that she paired with a Da Millinery bow, Harleyquin earrings and Christian Louboutin shoes. It was a standout thanks to the striking tiered skirt and the unique emerald colour, which was thin on the ground at Flemington.
Georgia Connolly: The Victoria Racing Club ambassador chose a dusty pink, fringed Talulah mini dress. Paired with a graphic clutch, a hot pink headband and huge hoops, it was a 1960s throwback of the best kind.
@flemingtonvrc Ambassador @gigi_connolly Cup Day Ready at @myer Fashions on The Field. Millinery. @annshoebridge Dress. @talulah_lamaison Earrings. @christienicolaides Bag. @fromstxavier Shoes. @tonybianco Hair & Makeup. @jade__kmakeup #styledbylanawilkinson
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Jennifer Hawkins: The Myer ambassador admitted this silhouette wasn’t her “usual style”, but said husband Jake Wall “loved it”. “You think men prefer a form-fitting silhouette, but no,” she said. As an added bonus: the dress is “easy to manoeuvre in”, perfect for dancing.
Natalie Barr: Enjoying the Emirates marquee, the Sunrise presenter told The New Daily she planned on wearing a Zimmermann dress, but it wasn’t working. So, she ducked to the shops to grab a hat from David Jones, pants from Scanlan and Theodore and a top from Country Road. “It’s a bit Derby Day,” she admitted, but all white is all right by us.
Biggest fashion statements
Bec Hewitt: At the Kennedy marquee, Hewitt’s weather-appropriate Sass and Bide suit with matching bra got the approval of her eldest daughter, who’s “very into fashion”.
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Paris Jackson: The offspring of the King of Pop shirked the dress code in a fairly major way, choosing her own boots and a low-key tulle dress over the custom Alex Perry gown Myer reportedly arranged.
Lauren Phillips: The retro inspiration behind this hot pink lace suit was commendable – at Myer, Phillips’ sweet matching hair ribbon was a highlight – but the execution divided opinion on social media.
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Jules and Guy Sebastian: A polka dot tie, a floral shirt, a khaki suit, yellow socks and a blue pocket square – singer Guy Sebastian certainly embraced the print-clashing trend at Emirates. Meanwhile, his stylist wife Jules opted for plenty of ruffles and a lot of leg.
Jane Bunn: The Seven weather presenter’s floral sundress was an unexpected choice given the grey, chilly weather at Flemington.