Few events are more synonymous with spring in Melbourne than racing. Fashionable creatures, fans and families alike emerge from three months of hibernation to bask in long-awaited sunlight and experience the thrills, tension and ground-shaking excitement of being trackside as the horses thunder past. Colourful outfits abound, champagne flows and fine dining flourishes as Melbourne gets back on track.
If you've not yet experienced a race day in Melbourne, the Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup Carnival is a great place to start, taking the city's passion for the races and combining it with a focus on local fashion, design, food and wine, to deliver as much for first-timers as for seasoned racegoers.
Nicole Warne of fashion blog Gary Pepper Girl has been appointed the new ambassador for the carnival. Along with an increased prize of $3 million, this year’s Caulfield Cup sees DJ Havana Brown headline the entertainment while in the culinary department, Gary Mehigan brings a seasonal-inspired menu to the Heath Enclosure Marquees. "October is a wonderful time of year for produce in the Southern states.” says Mehigan. “Think artichokes, spring greens, strawberries, blood oranges and baby vegetables. I’m hoping to bring food which is comfortable, sophisticated and a little eclectic here and there, but most of all delicious.”
While working with Warne as the carnival’s ambassador, the Melbourne Racing Club engaged film-makers De Republica for a fashion film depicting her journey to the 2014 Cup. Shot across 13 locations in and around Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle, the piece showcases outfits from a mix of Australian and international designers including Dion Lee, Lover, Camilla & Marc, Manning Cartell, Gucci and Christian Louboutin. “Lana (Wilkinson, stylist) found the balance between having each look in harmony with the location, yet making it striking enough to still make a statement. That can be tricky when you’re shooting with a real horse on the edge of a sand dune in Stockton,” Warne laughs.
“I think it’s important to support the local designers at such an iconic Australian fashion event,” she continues, “but I always turn to vintage if I’m looking for a unique point of difference.” Aspiring stylists can strut their stuff in the Chadstone Fashion Stakes, where Warne will be on the judging panel. Her advice? “Fashion is about expressing yourself, so just make sure you dress for no one but yourself.”
For the dining public, The European’s Ian Curley returns to run the kitchen at Black Caviar. “We’ll be using the ice-cream from our gelato bar in Spring Street, and our cheese will be hand selected from the Spring Street cheese cellar,” Curley says. “Caulfield customers can expect the same standard of food as the European.” Beyond the food and the fashion, there's something unique about being trackside, as the speed of the horses, the skill of the jockeys and the roar of the crowd combine for an experience you can genuinely feel.
This article is part of a partnership with the Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup Carnival, which culminates with the Caulfield Cup on Saturday 18th October. For more information head to racing.com.
Want to get to the races in style? Uber is teaming up with Air Melbourne and MINI this Saturday to get you to Caulfield racecourse in an UberCHOPPER for free. Click here to get yourself airbourne..