Melbourne Cup day in Brisbane
Melbourne Cup action wasn't confined to Victoria, with Brisbane race fans stepping out in style for the race that stops a nation. Photo: Natalie Bochenski
Try telling Dale Olsson that hat-wearing is a dying trend, and you'll get a sharp rebuke.
“If you spoke to the millinery teachers at TAFE, they would tell you they have more and more people learning to make hats,” says the owner of The Hatbox, in the Brisbane Arcade.
“It's really making a comeback. Ever since the royal wedding, women are wearing hats more and more frequently.”
The former high school teacher bought The Hatbox eight years ago after being a faithful client for many years. She now has 15 milliners working for her, providing both off-the-shelf and custom designed high fashion headpieces.
Her own choice for today's Tattersall's Melbourne Cup lunch was an aqua creation, reminiscent of a wave cresting towards a tropical beach.
“I wouldn't dream of going to the races, or a wedding or even just to lunches without a hat,” Ms Olsson said.
“The British milliner Stephen Jones once told me that a hat is the cherry on the cake, and it really is.
“If you want your outfit to look absolutely fabulous, you wear a hat with it.”
Over at Post Office Square, fascinators were the order of the day, either in black, or a bold colour worn to contrast a dress.
The Melbourne Cup in the Park event, hosted by Rush restaurant, was the first in the city central space, and is set to become an annual event.
Today's function raised funds for the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Foundation, with guests sipping on champagne and nibbling oysters, while enjoying live coverage from Flemington in the spring sunshine.
Get ahead of the hat game - tips from Dale Olsson:
- If you're new to hat-wearing, start small. You'll grow more daring as the years progress.
- Taller women should wear larger hats; petite women smaller ones.
- Women with long hair should pull it back off their neck. Let the hat make the statement, not your hair.
- Consult a professional. They're not that much more expensive than mass-produced imported hats, and you'll wind up with a far better result.
- Melbourne Cup Day is the one day of the year you can truly dress like a lady – take advantage of it!