Strutting into the exclusive Birdcage compound for the Melbourne Cup, Neighbours star Sharon Johal turned heads in a look she styled herself, – which makes her a winner right there – a hot pink metallic pant suit.
Johal’s disco ringmaster outfit combined three of the four-day racing carnival’s most popular looks: pink, pantsuits, one-shouldered and ’80s inspired.
As always, the standouts were women who were weather appropriate, combined restraint with individuality and didn’t mistake day dressing for going to the club or Ibiza.
Sydney digital strategist Rey Vakili was the best dressed woman on the course both days she showed up. Her fuschia feathered pantsuit, headband and monogrammed clutch for Cup were perfection, fun, expensive and one-offs.
Love Georgia Love’s Quality Street wrapper dress, with thigh high split that had VRC officials double checking rules. But more for carnivale dress up night on your Club Med holiday, not for the track.
Love doubled down on the pink and red combo for Oaks, channelling Carol Brady off to the supermarket in the wood panelled station wagon. Get some oatmeal please, mom.
Rachael Finch also went for a pink pantsuit, this one with a sexy longline jacket and less kitschy pants. Time is running out for the red and pink colour clash, FYI.
Brooke Hogan’s lollipop tiered confection for Oaks was beautiful and anchored by a classic pump, but she needed something more original on her head and maybe not that weird sheer bit in the middle.
Bumble’s Michelle Battersby, who also was heaven on Oaks Day in a whirl of baby blue, slayed in floral pink by Eliya The Label, and elegant turban.
Rachael Finch also rocked the one shoulder at Cup while Elyse Knowles went for plunging leopard skin that showed she had wardrobe flexibility on a cold day. I know which one I like best. You?
Laura Byrne (with Matty J) was another one-shoulder convert, in a retro two piece that lacked sophistication and would have been better for a pool party.
Brit Davis was like a sexy robot on Derby Day. Were I her mum, I’d have made her put on a skinny gold belt for panache.
Rebecca Judd’s Sylvy Earl hat was a showstopper worthy of Melania Trump. Her fashionably long corset detailed Atoir dress was completely elegant and didn’t suit her at all.
Also styled by Lana Wilkinson, who may have gotten a bulk deal on cartwheel hats and bodycon white dresses, Judd’s Wonder twin, Jessie Murphy, wore it best.
Revenge dressing done right: Nadia Bartel was fabulous on Derby Day, in a cutaway Dion Lee dress that had sass and class and didn’t wear her. The white pump beat any sandal.
Elyse Knowles also bent VRC rules with her bared midriff in a tuxedo-style mini that should have been tacky but made me so badly want to be 26 again. Tick.
Look, would Kate Middleton wear a strapless dresses to the track? She’d rather cut her fringe again. That should be the bottom line for everyone. Models Montana Cox and Tahnee Atkinson were still exquisite, especially those sheer stockings, but looked a lot like they were out of town.
Julie Bishop (with partner David Panton … do up that top suit button) went for a hybrid gondolier meets secretary-on-the-up meets Pierrot look.
At Oaks, Nicole Trunfio changed from the ubiquitous pantsuit to a periwinkle mullet dress with thick black straps and netted headpiece that was a blessed relief from the giant hats and boring headbands.
Kate Waterhouse put on an Oaks Day fashion clinic in a Prada dress and giant black hair bow that every person who wore anything without straps or sleeves or length on a cold day should put on their fridge and stare at. Appropriate, stylish, covetable and all her own work.
Lana Wilkinson, see above. I know you were busy getting everyone else ready but it’s the races, not a Carrie Bradshaw retrospective or a Year 12 formal. Gorgeous but wrongtown.
Doris Younane was hands down the most fun person at the Cup, in a bad black pantsuit with genius hat that caused problems when she had to drink or smoke. I know, I was fascinated and studied her closely.
Anna Heinrich was totally chic, from the boater to the pencil dress. Again, needed a belt for definition and a point of interest, but pretty damn good.
Nadia Fairfax had a ball in a Little Bo Peep bonnet and animal print getup that she may have stolen on her way to the track from a child actress in a period drama.
Violet Atkinson’s red dress with sun ray pleats and dramatic sleeves was one of the three best dresses all carnival. And no novelty hat, although the mules and bag were bad.
Brooke Hogan might have been part of Nadia Fairfax’s costume heist gang.