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After all the fuss about adjusting the dress codes to accommodate contemporary trends for Derby Day, Melbourne crowds and Sydney blow-ins mostly stuck to safe bets from their wardrobes.
Sure, PE Nation designer Pip Edwards was wandering around in a sheer skirt over white granny pants – “It’s the no pants trend” – and there was a smattering of men without ties, but the overall mood at Flemington was of an expensive Italian funeral, with a splash of The White Lotus.
1. Terry Biviano: The merry widow
Designer and Real Housewives of Sydney cast member Terry Biviano at Derby Day.Credit: Justin McManus
Scarf: Nerida Winter
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Clutch and sunglasses: Versace
“I like to bring some drama,” says designer Terry Biviano, justifying her casting in the latest season of The Real Housewives of Sydney. “I’m thinking it’s very Monica Bellucci with just a touch of ‘don’t mess with me or I’ll have you taken out.’”
A few people were game enough to ask Biviano whose funeral she was attending but the elegant optimist shrugged it off.
“They laughed at me the first time I wore a veil to the races, years ago. Now they’re all sucking Champagne through straws through their veils.”
2. Melissa Leong: Stand-up act
Melissa Leong outside the Landmark Lexus marquee on Derby Day.Credit: Justin McManus
Dress: Toni Maticevski
Hat: Stephen Jones
Bag: Christian Louboutin
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
“I’m working with a new stylist so the brief was edgy, with just a touch of bitch,” Melissa Leong says. “Sure I can’t sit down in it and I was driven in a Lexus with the dress unzipped but it was worth it.”
“I did zip it up the moment I got out of the car.”
“These are my lucky Logies shoes. Sure, I didn’t win, but I feel lucky today.”
3. Heidi Middleton: Romper stomper
Heidi Middleton at Derby Day wearing a vintage outfit.Credit: Justin McManus
Shoes: Jonathan Anderson
Designer Heidi Middleton continues to embody the spirit of sass & bide, the label she founded with Sarah Jane Clark and sold to Myer in 2013.
“I found this dress at a flea market in Boston,” says Middleton, who now focuses on her label Artclub. “It’s from the 1940s and I shortened it.”
The length and romper vibes might be at odds with VRC rules but Middleton’s cool confidence had attendants at the Lexus marquee looking the other way, and other guests looking on enviously.
4. Simone Holtznagel: Tate modern
Simone Holtznagel serving Bardot, Tate and Schiffer in Effie Katz outside the Lexus marquee on Derby Day.Credit: Justin McManus
Dress: Effie Katz
Bag and sunglasses: Saint Laurent
Headpiece: Ezara J
“The brief was Sharon Tate, Claudia Schiffer and a touch of Brigitte Bardot,” says model Simone Holtznagel. The sex kitten purr was kept to respectable limits with the sixties references swinging in a playful direction.
“I needed low shoes because I’m pregnant,” says Holtznagel, who is expecting a girl with her partner, personable personal trainer Jono Castono. “This is subdued. Wait until Melbourne Cup. I’m going all out then.”
There was no need to wait.
5. Alessandra Ambrosio, Moves like Jagger
Supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio in Paris Georgia as an exclusive guest of Lexus at Derby Day.Credit: Justin McManus
Coat and dress: Paris Georgia
Hat: Stephanie Spencer
Former Victoria’s Secret angel Alessandra Ambrosio teased on Friday that her outfit might be from Australian labels Zimmerman and Dion Lee, but the Brazilian supermodel was casting eyes across the ditch.
Moving like Mick Jagger and channelling the cream-suited spirit of the Rolling Stone frontman’s first wife Bianca Jagger, Ambrosio was wearing a coat and dress from New Zealand label Paris Georgia.
“It’s my first time at the races, so I hope I got it right,” Ambrosio says. The each-way bet on Melbourne’s temperamental weather with a coat and dress combo paid off.
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