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Sarah in our city

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Suzanne Carbone

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Oaks Day: 'It's all about the women!'

Hollywood icon Joan Collins and actress Sarah Jessica Parker were just two of the many glamorous women gracing the races for Oaks Day.

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YOU know Hollywood has arrived at Flemington when Crown has a VVIP marquee next to its VIP marquee just for Sarah Jessica Parker and her entourage.

Unlike Birdcage marquees that give the media free rein inside, this one in the trackside enclosure was invitation-only and journalists, photographers and film crews were kept outside. No shark fin dumplings for them.

The Age was invited into the VVIP marquee and observed a polite, chatty and engaging actor, here to promote her film I Don't Know How She Does It. "Pleasure to meet you," she said to those lucky enough to meet her. "Very nice to meet you. How are you?"

Sarah Jessica Parker waves to the crowd. Click for more photos

Oaks Day fashion

Sarah Jessica Parker, Joan Collins and local celebrities glam up for Oaks Day. Photo: Getty Images

Unlike the gargantuan Philip Treacy hat Parker wore to the Crown Oaks Club Lunch on Wednesday, yesterday's embellishment was a "hair hat" with sparkling headpiece created by her hairdresser Serge Normant. "He's a hair milliner," Parker exclaimed.

The petite fashionista looked glorious in a Jonathan Saunders dress, Antonio Berardi jacket, Manolo Blahnik heels, Fred Leighton pearls and Judith Leiber bag. In a coup for South Yarra jeweller Adrian Lewis, Parker wore a pave diamond and oxidised white gold heart-shaped ring. Lewis was honoured to loan the piece, saying: "It's nice to have someone of Sarah Jessica Parker's calibre and understanding of fashion wearing pieces I've created."

Parker met Crown chief Rowen Craigie, poker champ Joe Hachem and wife Jeanie, and when spotting Sass & Bide designers Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, Parker gushed: "OMG. Hi. I've been talking about you." Parker wore their clothes on Sex and the City, sending the label global. When asked about her time Down Under, Parker said: "I've been having a great time. It's been wonderful."

Craigie said the actor was the star of the track, as she was at the Crown Oaks Club Lunch. "She's very popular," he said. "She's getting mobbed everywhere."

Playful Parker blew kisses to a Channel Seven film crew and waved to fans screaming: "Sarah, we love you!" In a role reversal, she held a camera and took photos of others. Proving that some skinny Hollywood actors do eat, Parker nibbled a chicken and five-spice rice paper roll, and fried prawn wrapped in potato silk.

There was a touch of New York's Magnolia Bakery, the cake shop made famous in Sex and the City, with a display of cupcakes with pink icing — the Oaks Day colour.

Also in the VVIP marquee were Prahran's J'Aton designers, Jacob Luppino and Anthony Pittorino, gents noted for their style and adoration of stylish women. Pittorino declared: "Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Middleton have changed the face of fashion and the way women dress."

Pittorino said it was "surreal" to be sharing the same space with Parker. "I'm humbled by her presence and honoured that she's at such a prestigious event for Melbourne."

When it was time to depart for Crown's private box to say hello to Shane Warne and Liz Hurley, who made their Flemington debut, Parker again received the VVIP treatment. She was chauffeured in a golf buggy, the racetrack equivalent of the Queen's coach or Popemobile.

Parker was joined by Crown's general manager of public relations, Ann Peacock, when presenting the Oaks trophy after the win by Mosheen, ridden by Danny Nikolic.

Last night, another Oaks Day fashionista, Joan Collins, went to the movies, relaxing in gold-class comfort to watch Parker's film, I Don't Know How She Does It.

Anyone who has exhausted their socialite staminia on Derby Day, Cup Day and Oaks Day wonder how they've done it but there's more to come on Stakes Day.

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