It was an ebony and ivory affair on Derby Day in country Queensland as droves of ladies converged on the outback town of Cloncurry for the racing club’s Fashions on the Field event.
Lavishly lined eyes were firmly fixed on the coveted cash prize of $10,000; the richest cash reward for a race day fashion competition in Australia.
The best of the best from across the state were drawn to Cloncurry’s red-dirt racecourse to showcase their track-side style.
Exquisite outfits of checkered couture and monochrome masterpieces put judges to the task.
Competition judge and vice president of the Cairns Amateurs fashion committee Arabella Kullack said the event was on par with the nation’s major cup day.
“It was a very hard competition to judge.
“All the ladies were just so stunning and the quality of the event was on par with Melbourne Cup day,” she said.
Ladies had to adhere to traditional race-day fashion rules.
“Contestants were judged on their style and originality in relation to the customary theme of black and white on Derby Day,” said event organiser Ele Avery.
“Ladies were also judged on their attention to detail with their accessories and styling, as well as the appropriateness of their outfit for spring racing and the weather on the day.
“Headwear is also judged and should complement an outfit, while grooming and deportment is also important, as is a relaxed and fun attitude,” Ms Avery said.
Lady of the day
At the end of the day, it was the sartorial prowess of Emma DeHennin that saw her sashed Lady of the Track.
“This was an incredible event. I’m so grateful. It was a fierce competition with so many lovely ladies involved and I just can’t thank everyone enough for what was an incredible race day,” the Yeppoon mum said.
Ms DeHennin said her outfit was the culmination of months searching for the right materials.
“I looked for a long time for houndstooth fabric. It took me about two months to find the right fabric, and then I worked with Milva Carucci in Mareeba to bring my ideas to life and my hat is by Millinery by Mel in Mareeba.”
Big day for a small town
Cloncurry’s Derby Day Fashions on the Field was the culmination of a series of fashion events held at several race meets over the year.
“We’ve aimed to elevate the fashion here at Cloncurry to the next level just to promote outback racing and ladies in racing,” an event organiser said.
“We have so much creative talent out here with milliners, seamstresses.
“It’s really all about showcasing wearable art.
“People from all over the state have visited our race meets throughout the year and they’re eating at the local pubs and shopping at the local businesses.”
“The event is growing each year and we would love to put Cloncurry in the spotlight for our fashions: We have a great track, great committee and great community.