Each year hundreds of well-dressed racegoers take part in the national Fashions on the Field competition at racecourses around Australia. The Victorian heats in the ladies’ racewear category are held at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
Competitors typically spend several hours getting ready on the day, often employing hair stylists and professional make-up artists. For those wearing high heels and big hats, just getting to the event can be a challenge. The final winner is selected at Flemington two days later, to coincide with the running of the Crown Oaks.
Promenading has long been a feature of the Melbourne Cup. The Victoria Racing Club officially introduced Fashions on the Field to the Cup Day program in 1962 as a way of attracting more women to the races. It is estimated that over $27 million is spent on fashion for the four-day Cup carnival each year.