Emirates Kids Fashions on the Field - Girls
Sunday Age photographer Luis Ascui captures the winning style of kids, as they walk a tightrope of fashion and personal expression at this year's Emirates Fashions on the Field, at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Photo: Luis Ascui
There were no fake tans, tiaras or tantrums. Well, a couple of the mums were fuming when their little darlings failed to make it through to the finals of the Kids Fashions on the Field, but that's because they'd spent big on outfits better suited to starlets and harlots than little girls.
As one disappointed mother complained to The Sun-Herald, her voice dripping with scorn and disbelief: ''Did you see what the others were wearing?''
Indeed we did. Of the 617 entrants, including entire families, most had apparently glammed-up for the track on a strict budget.
Junior Girls finalist Lucia Panetta, 6, stood out sweetly in a $10 dress from Target, a $10 lacy cardigan with puff shoulders and silver shoes. Before hitting the stage she said simply: ''I'm happy.''
Her mother, Amanda Brocklebank, noted: ''It's good to see no make-up … people are keeping it natural which is part of a fun day. There are a lot of vintage looks and home-made looks which is nice … it's good to find something in the wardrobe and jazz it up.''
Bobbi, Ben and Indi Edwards of Thornbury won the family competition with improvised outfits that were chintz-free. They'd entered as a family because Indi, 5, was too young to enter the Junior Girls competition. ''She wanted to be in it,'' said mother, Bobbi, '' But because she was too young I told Ben he had to man up and take one for the team.''
''It was a bit daunting,'' said Ben.
Indi wore a pink lace frock that cost $40 and some lace socks. Bobbi took a three-year-old dress and cut it down to a skirt. ''We kind of made do with what we had at home.''
The overall effect was a family attending a 1950s church picnic. And this, said judge Barbara Licuria (wife of former AFL star Paul Licuria) is precisely what the Kids and Family Fashion of the Field is about. ''Sunday best. That's a true saying. It's like the old school feeling, you get your best clothes out and go to the races. That's what it's meant to be about.''
Regarding the Junior Girls competition, which could well have attracted beauty pageant-style horror tots, Ms Licuria said: ''There's definitely a cute factor we're looking for. But it has to be age-appropriate. This section goes up to the age of 12. A lot of the girls look stunning, but their heels are a little too high. You want to see cuteness. You want to see ballet flats.''
Of the boys, many who sported pork-pie hats and shiny grey suits, she said: ''Again, there's cuteness. But it has to be race-wear appropriate. One boy was in shorts and sunglasses and looked uber-cool, but it wasn't race wear.''