Timelapse: Dublin-inspired Emirates Birdcage marquee
Catch a glimpse of what went into creating this year's Irish-themed Emirates marquee at Flemington in this timelapse video.PT2M2S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-28n90 620 349 November 1, 2012
SOME say it was when British sexpot Jean Shrimpton and her hemline caused a stir at the 1965 Melbourne Cup carnival that the two-legged show ponies started to overshadow the thoroughbreds.
Others say the turning point came later, in 2003, when a pair of vapid American heiresses, Paris and Nicky Hilton, turned up to Flemington in cocktail dresses and a posse of photographers, leaving Toorak's society matrons aghast. ''They spent most of the time looking at themselves in the mirror, it was truly bizarre,'' recalled Melbourne social writer Fiona Byrne.
Stopping in ... Nicole Kidman. Photo: Getty
This Derby day all cameras will be on Nicole Kidman when she fronts at the track as part of a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with the vitamin pill maker Swisse.
Kidman is scheduled for a morning arrival in Melbourne, direct from the set of Grace of Monaco, having been given 48 hours' leave to fulfil her obligation with her corporate benefactor. She is due back on the tarmac by 4pm to jet back to the Nice film studio she so hurriedly left.
Over the years big names have been the tool employed in the battle for attention among the corporate marquees on course.
Some stars can cost a host up to $100,000 to turn up to the marquee, pose for photographs and ensure their sponsor's brands get plenty of attention.
This year's Derby day line-up is an assortment of names and faces, including Tony Abbott and his daughters Frances and Bridget, the sass & bide fashion designers Sarah Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, the radio stars Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, as well as Lara Bingle, Michael and Lindy Klim, James and Erica Packer, newly single Danielle Spencer and racing royalty including the Waterhouse and Cummings clans.
The marquees are extravagant affairs, the biggest among them the Emirates bunker, which costs more than $500,000 to construct and features a restaurant, bars and beauty parlour, as well as that other essential: fully plumbed toilets.
This year the airline is promoting its destination city Dublin and has built a Trinity College-inspired marquee, which will host a performance from Dublin-born Brian McFadden.
The car maker Lexus has enlisted chef Neil Perry to impress its guests, while the Lavazza coffee marquee will no doubt be transformed into a trackside nightclub as it has in previous years, when it hosted the likes of Snoop Dogg and the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese. This year the marquee is promoting Taylor Armstrong from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as its star attraction.
Let the games begin.