The annual Myer Spring Fashion Lunch was held yesterday at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. This is one of the most anticipated events every single year, and for good reason: Myer never fails to present the very best of Spring Racing Carnival Fashion.
Here are a few great examples from the catwalk:
Over 700 guests were in attendance. I, along with several other key female figures in the racing industry, was not one of them.
Instead, VRC has chosen to fill the Myer Spring Fashion Lunch with a heap of “style ambassadors,” WAGs, and lifestyle bloggers who in no shape or form directly contribute to the horse racing industry.
I have absolutely nothing against celebrities. In fact, anyone involved in the industry will tell you that the more influential people we have who can generate attention for the sport, the better.
The conflict happens when entities like Victoria Racing Club choose to spend their resources in this way at the cost of alienating those who are truly at the heart of the industry.
Let me explain. We at Track Mode like to think of ourselves as the go-to site for the stylish and intelligent race goer. Here’s one thing we know, and something VRC and similar entities seem to have forgotten: a thoroughbred lifestyle doesn’t just mean looking good — it also means knowing what’s actually going on. This is why, besides talking about fashion and telling you what to wear to the races, we also publish guides on owning a racehorse and interviews with jockeys and their families.
Most of our readers are 25-60 years of age, with a significant portion being in their 50s. Guess what? These are the women who are the avid race goers and the ones who are wealthy enough to own horses.
Guess what again? If they have the means to buy horses, then surely they are more than capable of buying expensive dresses and millinery. These women are not interested in “style advice” from a 20-year-old model.
The current stable of “style ambassadors” at the Myer Spring Fashion Lunch appeal to women aged 18-30, the vast majority of whom cannot afford to own a horse and most likely don’t even own a race club membership. Most of them also wouldn’t have a clue about how the horse racing industry is run.
Again, this isn’t a knock against anyone. The Melbourne Cup isn’t called “the race that stops a nation” for nothing. The so-called “sport of kings” is actually one of the most inclusive and unifying symbols of Australia. The more people who can join the festivities, the better!
What’s outrageous is that we seem to have lost sight of those who are truly in the trenches in favour of all the flash and sparkle of celebrity. A commenter on social media summed it up best: “Stars don’t carry the industry. Get back to the grassroots — horses, jocks, trainers, strappers, punters and owners.”
Track Mode is a horse racing and fashion site founded and curated by Nina O’Brien. Treat yourself to our Ultimate Guide to Spring Racing Carnival 2016, or skip straight to What to Wear to the Races for inspiration. You can also subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to get exclusive race day fashion edits straight to your inbox, and be friends with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.