After six weeks and 14 articles (this one makes 15) the beginning of the end of Spring Racing Carnival for me started on Derby Eve. And like so many good things it started with celebratory champagne. The bubbles at Moet’s annual Derby Eve party we served in golden goblets which reflected a blaze of light as Southbank’s pylons ceremoniously burst into flame at sunset. So enticing was this phenomenon that I felt I could have fallen into my goblet like Narcissus into a mirrored pond from peering into it too long, even aside from the seductive properties of the champagne itself. I spied Emma Freedman, designers Gwendolynne, Richard Nylon and Terry Biviano in the crowd. And I finally got to meet Christine Barro, founder of iconic Flinders Lane boutique Christine, who regaled with stories of impromptu parties in her home with milliner Philip Treacy. I always look forward to Christine’s showings at MSFW so it was nice to discover someone so distinguished in the industry was so warm and open.
From then on the real race week was a blur of florals (and a whole lot of neon) as I reported live from the Birdcage for Italian coffee house Lavazza. Having Roberto Cavalli as a guest was the obvious highlight. Our concept of what racewear is seems to be (slowly but happily) broadening. In part this is thanks to the creative types that participate in the Designer Award. This year’s winner Craig Braybrook took advantage of the colour of the 2012 carnival season; sunny yellow. Also happy to spot Anthony Capon’s flower-like submission. He’s my favourite racewear designer even though his aesthetic is so removed from traditional trackside style; it just works.
A very welcome pit-stop was made as I attended my first ever pre-Oaks Day Oaks Club lunch (finally a chance to eat and rest already-weary feet). The Palladium ballroom was transformed into an enchanted forest for this very ladylike afternoon. Seated with milliner Kerrie Stanley and Fashions on the Field enthusiast Angela Menz; I think we educated the visiting team from Marie Claire India as to what racing style can be.
Did you attend Flemington’s Spring Racing Carnival this year; I’d love to hear about your personal highlights?