The Sport of Queens: Upping the fashion stakes at this year's The Everest
Racegoers heading to this year’s Everest would do well to take their style cues from recent showings at Royal Ascot, says fashion writer Elle Halliwell
If racing is truly the sport of kings, then the fashion muses for this year’s spring carnival could not be more perfect.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are engaged in a subtle style race of late, trumping each other with their fashion-forward wardrobe choices.
And their friendly competition has resulted in an unprecedented wealth of style ideas as we head in to this year’s spring racing carnival, spearheaded in Sydney by The Everest.
From the contemporary red headband and pink Stella McCartney frock-combo Kate donned for her new nephew Archie’s christening in July, to the demure, flared boatneck dresses beloved by Meghan, the royal sisters-in-law are a one-stop inspirational shop for the race-going fashion fan.
Style experts are betting on a return to this royalty-inspired glamour at Sydney’s spring racing season, with retro headpieces, ’70s prints, feminine frills and elegant tailoring also expected to be winners in the trackside trend stakes.
“Meghan and Kate really epitomise elegance, and we’re definitely going to be seeing plenty of ensembles inspired by their wardrobes at this year’s carnival,” says stylist Kash O’Hara.
“I think racewear will be slightly more pared back this year and not as over the top as previous years.”
There was one exception to this, however, according to the Randwick-based racing-fashion expert.
When it comes to the statement sleeve, bigger and bolder is definitely better.
“Brands such as Alice McCall, Scanlan Theodore, camilla and marc, Aje, Thurley, Carla Zampatti and We are Kindred all feature dramatic sleeves in their new-season collections,” she says.
The look, O’Hara says, evolved from the flared styles which dominated the fashion conversation in recent seasons, and whether you prefer puffy, short styles or oversized, cuffed balloons, there’s an option for all body shapes and tastes.
Millinery trends have also seen a shift, with a move away from oversized hats in favour of more subtle hair accessories.
“It’s no secret hair accessories are hot right now and this is set to carry through into spring racing season,” Trove accessories founder Lydia Pedrana says.
“Hairpins, clips and headbands are great alternative to traditional race-day headwear and an easy way to elevate your look.”
Last year Italian fashion house Prada single-handedly launched a global micro trend when it debuted a range of padded headbands. It wasn’t long before the style was spotted on scores of fashionable celebrity heads including Sienna Miller, Rita Ora and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Fortunately, those on a modest budget can now get the Prada-inspired look, with local brands offering more inexpensive variations on the designer style.
“The best thing about jumping on the hair accessory bandwagon is that they are affordable, easy to style yourself and they’re not just suitable for race days; they’re also a chic option for off-duty dressing,” says Pedrana.
Another royal-inspired trend will be monochromatic layering.
It’s a look Her Majesty The Queen has championed with an almost religious fervour for decades, so much so you’d be hard-pressed to find photo evidence of her attending an official engagement in anything but a similarly hued hat and frock coat combo.
While pink is the uncontested colour of spring 2019, pale blue will also be a popular choice at this year’s Everest.
“Duchess Kate wore a stunning pale blue Elie Saab dress to Royal Ascot in June, which is the perfect shade for The Everest,” O’Hara says.
And whilst a top hat and tails may seem a little bit formal for a Sydney race meet, Sydney blokes can still take cues from the princes Harry and William.
Shine those shoes, add a flower to your buttonhole and behave as if your grandmother was in the crowd.