Hunter fashion goes bold and beautiful for Melbourne Cup Day

Bold: Model Hayley Williams and stylist Natalie Baker, who said punters should aim to "shine". Picture: Marina Neil
Bold: Model Hayley Williams and stylist Natalie Baker, who said punters should aim to "shine". Picture: Marina Neil

HUNTER fashionistas have spent weeks preparing for the nation’s most popular three minute race, investing in bright colours to stand out among the partying masses.

Charlestown Square stylist Natalie Baker said much of the excitement on Melbourne Cup Day is now trackside, as punters frock up in racewear that may otherwise only be seen on special occasions.

“We’re quite a relaxed country and culture and our climate means we tend to edge towards more casual types of clothing. Melbourne Cup is about putting on your very best outfit and making the most of it.

“We’re seeing the return of taffeta, lace and delicate fabrics you might not wear on day-to-day basis. This now counts as a special occasion in Australian culture.” 

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Ms Baker said fascinators had made way for hats and headpieces, with old-fashioned structured straw hats “like a Venetian gondolier” more popular than floppy styles.

“There’s also a lot of soft, feminine curls pulled back with a metallic headband, plus pearls and diamantes on clips and combs weaved into the hairstyle.”

Ms Baker said “bold colours” including golden yellow, bright red and blue as well as vintage-style florals were popular for dresses, which this year are sitting between the knee and mid-calf.

Ms Baker said some featured high necklines, were off the shoulder, had ruffles or boasted spaghetti straps, especially if backless.

There are even some Twiggy-style shifts with unstructured waists, high necklines and long sleeves.

She said popular alternatives included mixing and matching tops and skirts, plus pantsuits with wider legs.

“It’s definitely a season that caters for everybody’s shape.”

Pop colours are also in vogue for heels, with the pinks and nude pumps of past years updated with detailing including cut-outs, suede and satin.

“Open toed shoes with a range of heel heights and widths mean you can stand on grass without sinking.”