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The typical styles associated with Crown Oaks Day have evolved over time, especially in terms of femininity. Previously known as the ‘pastel, frills and flowers day’, a new Oaks Day trend has now emerged alongside lace and florals:  a bold, abstract and linear silhouette. This strong, structured and brightly coloured trend is redefining the typical ‘feminine’ look, and it’s no longer just ‘pretty in pink’.  

Also known as Ladies Day, ‘the day of indulgence’, Crown Oaks Day is the third day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and an occasion for ladies to express their own signature style, amid a spectacular racing backdrop. Oaks Day is the most highly anticipated event in the world of Melbourne Fashion, headlining trends for the upcoming Spring and Summer seasons.

The two most distinct styles scattered around the racing grounds were conventional and the contemporary. Traditional race-goers favoured their refined looks and delicate laces, floral prints and muted colours. Jennifer Hawkins’ was a living reference in her pretty pastel-pink ensemble, reflecting the Crown Oaks Day flower, the pink rose. 

On the other contemporary end of the fashion scale, a more modern, edgy and structured look was very apparent, with many women opting to show their personal style through bright and bold colours, sharp silhouettes and masculine boating hats. Samantha Jade illustrated this trend well, donning an all-black maxi dress with a dramatic split and a gothic crown.

More so than any other year, traditional dresses were avoided; many race-goers chose playsuits or jumpsuits and although few and far between, palazzo pants were teamed with soft blouses. 

A micro trend of elongation has also emerged, as necklines inched higher and skirt lengths grew longer, bringing a sophisticated sense of Hollywood glamour to the day. Mid-lengths were balanced with high stilettos and petite purses, while many followed the classic equation of matching their shoes, accessories and headwear in colour.

Headwear varied dramatically this year, but reoccurring features of lace, feathers and over sized fauna contrasted the dainty look of bejewelled head chains, but animal-styled ears were the key fascinator trend this year.

The Birdcage was a hive of activity, with celebrities and socialites showing off their perfectly planned outfits amongst the shaded marquees. The Emirates Marquee, in particular, had the best-dressed hostesses who embraced simplicity with colour and line, sporting an elegant asymmetric red and white dress teamed with a wide brim hat.

As for the Birdcage’s premier aesthetics, House of Walker embraced the whiskey’s dark and luxurious traits for a complete sensory experience, while the Myer Marquee embodied simplicity in a white palette and plenty of fresh blossoms.

Best-dressed and adorable couple, Brodie Harper and Heath Meldrum, teamed a palette of white, pink, lilac and grey with their ever-beaming smiles.

The 21-year-old model, Brodie Worrell, won the Myer Fashions on the Field competition and subsequently a new Lexus car. Her winning outfit, a classic white dress by Toni Maticevski, played down monochrome tones, paired with black gloves, a black clutch and patent leather shoes. The ensemble was complemented perfectly with a black and white statement millinery piece, designed by Felicity Northeast. 

Trends have officially moved from the conventional to the contemporary, and if Oaks Day is anything to go by, we’re now looking towards our most striking Summer wardrobe yet. 

The Fashion Advocate x

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