Melbourne’s spring racing Derby Day

Maree Harrington and I

On a day that dazzled with atypical Melburnian blue skies, a lick of warmth and the promise of later showers, in amongst the hobnobbery that takes place annually amongst the exceedingly costly and equally as exceedingly ostentatious corporate marquees that line the ‘Birdcage’ at Flemington, I went, I saw, I conquered the Derby.

Not much a gambling man, I tend to get my jollies from watching the Myer Fashions on the Field, now in its 50th year, and admiring (more criticising) the fashion successes and failures (mostly failures) of passers-by.

This Derby Day differed to no other.

It was refreshing to have seen a vast majority of women and men staying true to what is the traditional dress of Derby Day: men a grey morning suit and women, nothing but monochromatics. Naturally, a few who took it upon themselves to buck the trend, a couple who wanted to ‘stand out’ in their own way and plenty who wanted to ruin the concept completely laid the trackside thick and fast, but what can you do?

I was fortunate enough to have discovered that had their finger on the pulse and had elicited some photographers to capture what black and white and colourful splashes of awesomeness did pepper the crowds. Admittedly none disappointed.

The day started with the finery of the illustrious Emirates Marquee, which was bedecked in all things Irish from the carpet to the walls, the decor to the drinks and little matching waiters in old world Irish garb to fit the bill. Entertained by a troupe of Irish dancers from Christine Ayres school of Irish Dancing, what more could a crowd of some of Melbourne and Australia’s finest ask for?

Here’s a scoop for you: rumour has it, English royalty on Cup Day, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will grace the Committee Room and Lawns only, bypassing the Birdcage entirely.

The notorious Lavazza Marquee held the party atmosphere for the longest time as usual within the confines of the Birdcage and housed some of Australian society and international fashion’s biggest names. James Packer rubbed shoulders with famed Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, while New Orleans cabaret/tap/singer/musician entertainer worked the crowd on the top recommendation of host John Valmorbida.

See the below video for your own taste of the festivities (I make a cameo)…

A day of entertainment, laughter, a barrel of champagne and fashionable entertainment. Bring on the next three.

Thanks to and Fresh Photography, and for photos, Lavazza Australia and Emirates and PPR Melbourne.


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