Entertainment Style Melbourne Cup fashion head turners from Jean Shrimpton and Princess Diana to local stars
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Melbourne Cup fashion head turners from Jean Shrimpton and Princess Diana to local stars

Jennifer Hawkins 2016 Melbourne Cup
Jennifer Hawkins wore a structured red Misha Collection jumpsuit and matching statement hat to the 2016 Melbourne Cup. Photo: Getty
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Four days after she scandalised Flemington by drifting on to the members’ lawn in a white shift dress well above her knees and no hat, no gloves, no stockings, English model Jean Shrimpton braved the baying crowds again to showcase her 1965 Melbourne Cup fashion.

Jean Shrimpton Melbourne Cup 1965
Jean Shrimpton plays nice at the 1965 Melbourne Cup. Photo: Getty

Second time around, Shrimpton – who was paid £2000 for her two-week trip, more than the Beatles a year earlier – wore a conservative three-piece beige suit, and cartwheel straw hat to appease her sponsors and local style police.

“I feel Melbourne isn’t ready for me yet,” the model said.

“It seems years behind London.”

Not any more.

Since the Shrimpton scandal Flemington has seen thousands of fashion-forward head turners, from the fabulous (anything on Lillian Frank in the 1980s, most of Jennifer Hawkins’ back catalogue) to the looks you wouldn’t bet your house on (anyone married to Geoffrey Edelsten.)

There are a few celebrities who will be thrilled right now to see their past outfits.

Let’s start with Princess Diana, who cut her race day teeth at Epsom and thus left gimmicks behind when she showed up in Melbourne in 1985 in a Bruce Oldfield suit, Frederick Fox hat and patent flats.

Princess Diana 1985 Melbourne Cup
Princess Diana in 1985.

Socialite hairdresser Frank was always joyfully unbridled in leopard, hot pink and roof-sweeping feathers while many Toorak pals stuck to navy and white and pearls. A couple of years ago, The New Daily helped her stuff her hat with cocktail napkins: “It’s too big. Fix it, darling.”

Lillian Frank Melbourne Cup 2002
Gaye Pannusz and Lillian Frank in 2001. Photo: Getty

Paris Hilton and sister Nicky went heavy on the fake tan, lingerie-as-clothes and showgirl sandals in 2003. How Paris slipped that slapper chic bared midriff past VRC officials is an enduring mystery.

Paris Hilton Nicky HIlton
Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton. Photo: Getty

I bet Melissa George, in a fussy look reminiscent of the wedding vision of the bad stepmother in Nanny McPhee (but props for ace shoes), hated standing with a very cool and contemporary Tina Arena in 2007.

Tina Arena Melissa George Melbourne Cup 2007
Tina Arena and Melissa George in 2007. Photo: Getty

Jess and Lisa Origliasso, aka The Veronicas, got the dress code wrong in 2007 – Melbourne Cup fashion is about colour – but fortunately had Hawkins (in fuchsia Zayt) on hand to show them the ropes.

Lisa Origliasso Jess Origliasso Jennifer Hawkins
The Veronicas and Jennifer Hawkins. Photo: Getty

Maybe we should tick Jen off entirely while we have the chance. In 2011, she and Rebecca Judd had a battle of the headpieces and GHD curls.

Jennifer Hawkins Rebecca Judd 2011 Melbourne Cup
Hawko and Rebecca Judd. Photo: Getty

The former face of Myer’s best Cup look? In a quality field, those pastel dresses from her early years notwithstanding, her 2016 scarlet jumpsuit.

Jennifer Hawkins 2016 Melbourne Cup
Jennifer Hawkins kills it at the Cup. Photo: Getty

Meanwhile, Sonia Kruger also has a strong body of work when it comes to Cup looks. She’s a ninja – studded ankle boots and a fedora back in 2008 – except for that ice dancing 2003 outfit.

Sonia Kruger 2008 Melbourne Cup
Sonia Kruger in 2008. Photo: Getty

It’s hard to cull Bec Hewitt’s Cup day getups to one, especially given the shorts and bra top she wore in 2016.

But her 2014 fringed mini accessorised with neon pops takes the honours.

Bec Hewitt Melbourne Cup 2014
Bec Hewitt in 2014. Photo: Getty

In 2012, Delta Goodrem made Dior look like an extra’s costume from a suburban theatre group’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Delta Goodrem 2012 Melbourne Cup
Delta Goodrem in 2012.

In 2004 Grant Hackett went full morning suit with sunglasses that came free with a six pack of beer. Sophie Falkiner tried an empire line for perhaps the first and last time.

Grant Hackett Sophie Falkiner 2004 Melbourne Cup
Grant Hackett and Sophie Falkiner in 2004. Photo: Getty

At the other end of the sartorial scale we have Enrique Iglesias in 2010. Had Derryn Hinch still had his ‘shame file’ TV spot, we know who would have been included. Go back to a food court.

Enrique Iglesias 2010 Melbourne Cup
Enrique Iglesias in 2010. Photo: Getty

Now we come to the inevitable Edelsten section. Sadly, photos of Geoffrey’s first wife Leanne in a leather Tinkerbell kit at the 1985 Melbourne Cup are hard to come by, but we’ll always have his subsequent flames Brynne and Gabi Grecko. In 2010 Brynne spurned her signature candy pink but made up for it with her understated hat.

Brynne Edelsten Geoffrey Edelsten 2010 Melbourne Cup
Brynne and Geoffrey Edelsten in 2010. Photo: Getty

Geoffrey was so down with his canary suit (his tailor has the same eye for proportion as Donald Trump’s) he recycled it to drop to one knee and propose to Grecko – in a Maleficent headpiece, mini featuring clown faces and stripper shoes – in the Birdcage in 2014.

Geoffrey Edelsten Gabi Grecko
Send in the clowns: Geoffrey and Gabi Grecko in 2014. Photo: Getty

Gigi Hadid went full pretty princess in 2014.

Gigi Hadid 2014 Melbourne Cup
Gigi Hadid in 2014. Photo: Getty

Ashley Hart sported a melange of influences, from gauchos to Tibetan artisans and Scottish highland chiefs in 2015. And yes, she kept those Louboutins on all day.

Ashley Hart 2015 Melbourne Cup
Ashley Hart in 2015. Photo: Getty

Paris Jackson snubbed designers championed by her 2017 host Myer to come as a stall holder at one of those local markets that sells soap. I can still smell the patchouli and her air of disdain.

Paris Jackson 2017 Melbourne Cup
Paris Jackson in 2017. Photo: Getty

Dita Von Teese and Coco Rocha were classically beautiful and ‘done’ in 2013.

Dita Von Teese Coco Rocha 2017 Melbourne Cup
Dita Von Teese and Coco Rocha in 2013. Photo: Getty

Lara Worthington rocked up amid 2018’s biblical rain wearing Derby Day colours and a weather-appropriate boots and beret. Was she too unstructured or perfectly insouciant?

Lara Worthington 2018 Melbourne Cup
Lara Worthington in 2018. Photo: Getty

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