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Fashions on the Field victory nine months in the making

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Rachel Wells

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Famous faces flock to the Birdcage

A bit of rain couldn't stop the party in the Birdcage as celebrities ate, drank, schmoozed and even placed some bets.

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Taking out a major prize at the Fashions on the Field event has become so coveted in recent years, that the days of teetering into Flemington and entering on a whim are long gone.

These days the serious contestants - and there are hundreds of them- begin their preparations up to 12 months in advance.

Take today's winner of the Victorian state final, Lauren Andrews of Frankston.

Fashions on the Field. Chantelle Raleigh , Caitlin Mikheal and Vicki Petkoski in Vezzano Couture.

Fashions on the Field. Chantelle Raleigh , Caitlin Mikheal and Vicki Petkoski in Vezzano Couture. Photo: Simon Schluter

The 23-year-old sales representative began planning her outfit in February.

"It starts with reading through the magazines and seeing what's in fashion. So I've been thinking about this for a while."

Ms Andrews purchased her winning outfit more than a month ago, a navy-and-neon-yellow tweed pencil dress with a half peplum on the waist, from British label Erdem. Her winning pleated headpiece was by Melbourne milliner Kim Fletcher.

Winner Lauren Andrews. Click for more photos

Melbourne Cup 2012 : Fashions on the Field

Fairfax photographer Simon Schluter captures the Fashions on the Field at the 2012 Melbourne Cup. Photo: Simon Schluter

Ms Andrews' research had paid off as she backed some of the day's most popular trends: neon colours; a fitted pencil silhouette; and a peplum ruffle. She'll go on to compete in the national final at Oaks Day on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Melbourne designer, Craig Braybrook, took out the Design Award for professional designers, with a 1960s-inspired fitted, wiggle dress, complete with a peplum waist.

Mr Braybrook, a former Project Runway contestant, said the outfit - in white and neon yellow with a peaked cap by Kerrie Stanley - was paying homage to the history of the fashions on the field event which turns 50 this year.

Myer Fashions on the Field Women's Racewear daily finalists Amanda Macor, Lauren Andrews and Alex Foxcroft.

Myer Fashions on the Field Women's Racewear daily finalists Amanda Macor, Lauren Andrews and Alex Foxcroft. Photo: Marianna Massey

"It’s the 50th year of fashions on the field and so I wanted to hark back to the 1960s but with a bit of twist," he said.

He accessorised with a metallic silver belt and shoes.

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