I thought I would follow up last weeks Melbourne Cup post with a post about the fashion on the day.
Fashion is a huge part of Cup Day and the Spring Racing Carnival, and, although I am not much of a fashion lover I am always interested in the hotly contested fashions Fashions on the Field.
Why, you say? Well, because the one who wins isn’t flaunting a frock from a famous designer, it is usually won by an imaginative person who spent hours making their own dress or adapting a pre-loved frock to their own design.
This year it was won by 22-year-old Amy Robson(Herald-Sun), whose grandmother helped her hand paint the myriad beads on an op-shop (thrift shop for you in the U.S.) handbag and turn it into a peplum that was the feature of her dress. Yeah, I had to look it up, don’t think for a second I knew what it was.
Fashions on the Field was started in 1962 with generous prizes to encourage more women to go to the races. If only the VRC had what they were unleashing when they decided to make fashion a big part of the Spring Racing Carnival!
If you are interested in more about the Fashions on the Field melbournecup.com has an interesting decade by decade breakdown.
Here in Melbourne it is the first Tuesday in November and that means normal life has ground to a halt. Melbourne Cup day is upon us.
This iconic horse race is held on this Tuesday every year which sits conveniently with the great Australian tradition of using the slightest excuse to have a long weekend. Yesterday the Melbourne Cup parade was held in the city with tens of thousands of people lining the streets to see past winners and members of our racing royalty pass by. (Herald-Sun)
The Melbourne Cup, and the associated Spring Racing Carnival, is supposed to be about horse racing for but for many it is all about frocking up, having too much to drink and waking up in a place you don’t remember getting to. Possibly a garden bed.
I have done other posts about the Melbourne Cup if you are interested in finding out more.
The actual cup itself is famous in its own right- The Iconic Melbourne Cup.
The fashion- Melbourne Cup Fashion. 1888.
The history- Melbourne Cup Meeting 1862.
This is an illustration published in 1938 of the first Melbourne Cup, which was run in 1861. If only they knew what they were starting!
In Melbourne we have a thing called the Spring Racing Carnival in October and November. It is a time when people who love horse racing get dressed up and celebrate with the like-minded. It is also a time that people who don’t know much about horses but love to get dressed up and do a bit of celebrating let loose.
Every year there are tales of disaster in the social pages, and the track carparks are full of people who are suddenly regretting the decisions they have made under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol.
I thought this article was very funny, even though it is from 1888 it could well refer to the jealous rivalries that swirl through the crowd at the racing next year too.
This is a funny tale of the competition for attention between Miss A___ and Miss R___ at the Rockhampton races.
Although Miss A___ was the recipient of the majority of the attention she made the mistake of opening her mouth a little too widely when she was cheering the winner past the post and out popped her shiny false teeth.
Miss R___ was quick to see her opportunity to humiliate her rival and pounced. Holding the teeth aloft she politely but loudly returned them to their owner.
Poor Miss A___ immediately fainted and was carried home on a stretcher, her days at the top of the socialite set at an end. Oh, the humiliation!
Today I was trying to think of a different bit of music to share with you and I remembered On the Punt by The Aerial Maps. This song is poetry.
Songwriter and singer Adam Gibson sings about his memories of his race loving father and his travels with him. Old Valiants, hot car seats that burned his legs, pies from the pie shop, bags of hot chips and phone TAB. It is full of Aussie-isms.
I don’t come from a punting family, but whenever I hear race-calling like the start of this song I am immediately whisked back to Aunty A___’s kitchen. The table is covered in delicious treats and we are all settling down for a family lunch. A black transistor radio is playing the horse races constantly in the background. A particular race would start and she would go over and stand by it listening, hoping for a win.
The first time I heard this song we were on holiday. I was making breakfast and listening to Macca* on our little wind-up radio. We were in the campground of the Marla Roadhouse in outback South Australia, on our way home from Alice Springs, the perfect environment to listen to this very Aussie song.
I wish this clip was done with crackly old film in an old car driving those non-specific coastal roads. Unfortunately it is only a photo montage of the band, sorry, it was the only one I could find!
You’ll just have to shut your eyes and pretend you are that kid with a custard tart in an old car, listening to the radio with your dad. 😉
*Macca does a talkback radio show on the ABC on Sunday mornings called Australia All Over. He talks to (and remembers) everyone. The characters who call up the studio or drop in to his show when he is on the road are amazing, farmers, old bushies, CWA ladies, you just never know what gems he will come up with.