Style Melbourne

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

One of my favourite sayings is attributed to fashion boutique Oscar & Wild‘s famous namesake. The oft-quoted novelist Oscar Wilde said “you can never be over-dressed or over-educated”. This is especially true for the Spring Racing Carnival where the best-dressed punters of the day are thoughtfully styled (as for the “educated” part just pick up a handy formguide).

Oscar & Wild‘s founder and buyer Paloma Hatami invited me to peruse through their racks laden with BCBG Max Azria, Marlene Birger and Manning Cartell treasures, to style a few outfit ideas for what to wear to the races. With the Caulfield Cup on this Saturday, the Cox Plate on the weekend next and Flemington’s week of festivities looming on the horizon, it’s certainly time to finalise the season’s racewear. I hope you find some inspiration…

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I had Oaks Day in mind when curating this look below. Pink is a classic for ladies’ day however the edgy print ensures the dress is not too girlish. I intentionally chose a hat that wasn’t the exact same shade of pink as the dress so as to avoid being too match-y (a common faux pas at the track). The pop of neon adds a certain element of cool.

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

dress by Anu – rings and purse by Oscar & Wild – hat exclusive to Oscar & Wild

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I juts had to use this lovely headpieces in one of my looks. Its earthy tone pair back nicely with a the chartreuse green of the dress. Typically glitz and sequins are frowned upon trackside; however the matte-look and sparing use of the detail here keeps this look very much daytime-appropriate.

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

dress by Unspoken – shoes by Annarita N – fascinator exclusive to Oscar & Wild

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A tunic style dress is such a great way to look effortless (and be comfortably uninhibited) at the races. The shape of this particular fascinator is so flattering – it really highlights the eyes – so it’s a good option for those opposed to a full-on hat yet substantial enough to stand up to the fashion critics.

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

Oscar & Wild goes to the races

dress by Ginger & Smart – rings & purse by Oscar & Wild – fascinator exclusive to Oscar & Wild

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The boutique features some gorgeous headwear designed exclusively for the store in collaboration with Paloma. She obviously has a stylish eye and a worldly perspective on fashion due to frequent sourcing from destinations such as Paris, London, New York and Dubai (the latter also has a strong racing culture). I wanted to share her thoughts on fashion’s crucial role in the Spring Racing Carnvial.

What’s your favourite day of the Spring Racing Carnival and why?
Derby Day. The day seems to be less hectic than the others, which is always nice, and I find that the outfits are often more elegant with a stronger emphasis on fashion and style. Traditionally, the day is about black and white, and I think that classic combination creates a feeling of refined elegance and sophistication.

What fashion trends would you like to see ladies try at this year’s carnival?
This year is all about colour, and it’s great to see Melbournians embracing colour. I’d love to see more women taking chances with colour blocking and more colourful and beautiful fascinators and hats. Neon colours are so in this season, so I’m hoping to see some bright colours. We have some amazing colours at Oscar & Wild right now, like burnt orange, jade, poppy, and peach, so I’d love to see some of these colours trackside!

What’s your best tips for surviving a day at the races in style?
A warm jacket or poncho for a sudden change of weather, foot spray for those tired feet, and lots of Champagne!

Can you please tell me all little bit about the direction of Oscar & Wild’s millinery offering this season?
We have a very clever milliner who creates our fascinators in accordance with the choice of fashion, colours and styles we have in store. Our milliner has a talent in combining elements and materials, like barramundi skin, waxed bandage, and vintage fabrics that make each fascinator a one-off, unique work of art. This season, the fascinators are really in keeping with the trends that you’ll see in outerwear – we have some styles that really embrace those neon and citrus colours that we’ve been seeing on the catwalk, and on the flip side some beautiful pastel fascinators in shades of baby blue, lavender, jade and cream.

If you were judging the Fashions on the Field what key elements would you look for in a racing look?
It’s easy to purchase a matching outfit or have it made. It’s a lot harder however to mix and match different fashion styles, including vintage and new and present it in a stylish and unique way. So, I’d love to see a look that cleverly combines different styles or has a beautiful element of surprise. I’d also like to see girls who are ‘normal’, average woman rather than professional models chosen by department stores. In terms of a fascinator or a hat, I’d like to see something unusual and quirky.

Visit the wonderful world of Oscar & Wild at 788 Burke Road, Camberwell or 167 High Street, Kew or shop online.

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