millinery - winning piece 2017 at the Melbourne Cup Fashions on the Field and Victorian Final

A Melbourne Spring Carnival to Remember

My Winning Millinery

Lets backtrack a little, right back to last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival. It’s probably the most memorable one to date. The fashion was just fabulous, even if the weather didn’t permit. There were a lot of cold fashionistas in attendance, including myself. At times, my fingers were so cold that they just did not even want to click the camera. The coldest was Melbourne Cup Day, which was very quickly forgiven because my beautiful friend came up top in the fashion stakes.

Gorgeous Holly, whose puff-sleeved dress (by Nicola Finetti) only arrived a week before the start of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, won best dressed on the day wearing a statement headpiece which I designed and created for her. That’s the beauty of not being a full-fledged milliner – I had time for such a last minute creations. Holly had only recently moved up to Melbourne from Tasmania. It was Holly’s first time at the Melbourne Cup Carnival and entering the fashions on the field competition, which made it all the more special to create the award winning millinery.

 Designing a Winner – Melbourne Spring Carnival Winning Outfit 2017

Turbans were such a hit that season and the style was definitely an inspiration for Holly’s headwear. Wanting something a little more modern and classic, I chose silk abaca which is a rich material and provided a nice puffiness. The style flowed nicely with the dress. All the headpiece required were a couple of metallic handmade blossoms and wrapped wire. It’s a time-consuming process but worth the effort. The end result was a modern, sculptural and classic headpiece which wowed the judges. Holly won the Fashions on the Field title on Melbourne Cup Day, then returned on Oaks Day to win the National title and came third in the State final. Millinery by velvet&tonic.

winning outfit and millinery of the 2017 melbourne cup fashions on the field by myer in victoria, australia

It’s How You Wear It

Winning such a competition is no easy feat. Contestants are competing against hundreds of others to catch the eye of the judges. Everything has to be perfect, down to their accessories and deportment. Nowadays, it’s not enough that your outfit is gorgeous and up with current fashion trends. The way you walk and the way you smile has all become part of the judging criteria. Accessories can also make or break your outfit.

On Melbourne Cup Day, another gorgeous fashionista donned the same dress. Her headwear was yellow and her accessories were a bold orange. Definitely a brave choice of colour combination, but it wasn’t appealing enough to get her through to the second round. It was the same story with another couple of entrants, both wearing the same tulle dresses in different colours. One lady wore it better and won the Fashions on the Field title on Oaks Day.

Make it Happen

Holly’s win has inspired me to finally create my own millinery line. It’s something which I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, and I reckon that the time is now or never. My creations will be luxurious, contemporary and timeless. The pieces will be free-form using rich fibres and adding little details which will give them a wow-factor. Due to having to entertain kids during the summer holidays, my goal of having the collection done and photographed has been hindered.

Hopefully I’ll get my creative streak back very soon and get back to making!