The Birdcage was the place to see and be seen at this year’s Derby Day. We bring you a round of up all the action at the top marquees.
Melbourne welcomed the spirit of Germany in the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day. The fairy-tale facade of Germany’s most famous architectural icon – Neuschwanstein Castle, complete with turrets, flags and towers – treated guests to a day of luxury within the beautifully decorated marquee, with the best spot in the Birdcage overlooking the track.
A host of celebrity guests graced the marquee including Rachael Finch, the Bachelor Blake Garvey, Andy Lee, Danielle Spencer, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Collingwood Head Coach Nathan Buckley and former captain Nick Maxwell, Michael and Lindy Klim, Shannon and Simon from The Block, Home and Away stars Cassie Howarth, Nic Westaway, Andrew Morley and Tai Hara, Matt Preston, Luke Darcy, Montana Cox, Richard Wilkins, Eamon Sullivan, Shane Crawford and Miss World Australia Courtney Thorp.
Guests were taken on a culinary journey of Germany with dishes such as Black Forest cake given a modern twist. More traditional dishes including schnitzel, sausages and warm Bavarian style pretzels, gave racegoers a classic taste of Germany. German Slap Dancers entertained guests throughout the day with two ‘Schuhplattlers’, while some guests opted for relaxation and bliss, with a hand or foot massage on offer in the Timeless Spa or a make-up touch up at the exclusive Lancôme lip and eye bar.
International guests Solange Knowles and Margherita Maccapani Missoni headlined the guestlist at Lavazza’s From Italy with Passion inspired marquee. Despite showing up two hours late, Knowles, dressed in John Goot kept the crowd dancing with an hour long set, mixing old school tunes with the latest day hits.
Missoni, bucked the black and white dress code, matching her bright pink Charlotte Olympia shoes and Missoni dress with a vibrant floral headpiece. The Italian style icon flew in especially for the event, only in Australia for 3 days before flying out again. This is the first time Missoni has worked with Lavazza but said “The brand fits in very well with my lifestyle and my love for coffee.” She also said she “loves the Italian heritage of the brand and was very excited to be in Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival.” It was Missoni’s first time in Australia but she showed no signs of jetlag as she mingled with guests and chatted to media. She said although she wasn’t involved with Missoni’s recent collaboration with Target, she has heard it was very well received by Australia shoppers.
Guests were treated to classic Italian hospitality with Paolo Masciopinto’s delicious menu which included a beetroot-infused cavatelli with homemade quail sausage, parmesan fondue and pine nuts.
Real Housewives of Melbourne fever took over the Lexus Marquee as they filmed scenes for their TV show. They were joined by Lexus Ambassador Kate Waterhouse, blogger Margaret Zhang, designer Henry Holland, stylist Romy Frydman, David Jones Ambassador Emma Freedman and Tom and Hoda Waterhouse. Joost Bakker created a stunning installation of over 1,000 flowers, fresh from Aaron Mitchell’s farm in Monbulk, which lined the ceiling of the marquee. Lexus’s luxurious chrome NX certainly turned heads in the marquee, as guests were given the opportunity to get a close up look at the new model.
Celebrity gardener Jamie Durie created a beautiful living oasis for guests which included furniture from his namesake line, while the team at Attica, one of the world’s top restaurants, created a decadent menu for racegoers to enjoy.
Fresh from shooting Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen in the Chanel Number 5 ad and the women of the Waterhouse family for Australian Vogue, acclaimed photographer Hugh Stewart was on hand to take portraits of guests, which served as a fantastic reminder of the day.
This year’s Myer marquee was inspired by Myer’s new theme ‘find wonderful’. Decorated with beautiful illustrations and flowers, the Myer Marquee featured whimsical displays of fashion, art and design. Designed by the team at Gloss Creative and featuring amazing displays of coloured orchids by Fleur Florist in Armadale, guests were enclosed in a wonderful marquee filled with light.
The marquee’s colour palette paid tribute to Myer’s talented designers’ Spring Summer collection shades and aptly named ‘Alex Perry Yellow’ and ‘by Johnny Pink’ which were featured throughout the marquee. Huge illustrations by renowned artist Cat McLeod, whose work features in the new ‘find wonderful’ campaign decorated the white walls of the marquee.
Guests enjoyed a menu of Spring’s freshest flavours, created by The Big Group, which featured wonderful delights including colourful tiny meringues, summer citrus salads, beef burgers on charcoal buns, and come 3:30pm ‘Edible Happiness’ happened with a huge pink cake created by Nectar & Stone.
Celebrity guests at the Myer Marquee included brand ambassadors, Jennifer Hawkins, Kris Smith, Kate Peck who was wearing a headpiece worth $3 million, radio’s Hamish Blake and wife Zoe Foster Blake, Andy Lee, Jules Lund, Matt Preston, Alex Perry and Arthur Galan.
At Schweppes, the bespoke bar was the centrepiece of the marquee serving up a range of cocktails to guests. Inspired by a Southern style bar, the feature wall mirror featured the names of the cocktails that were available, made by some of the best mixologists in Melbourne.
Guests enjoyed the famous Flemington Fling cocktails as well as a range of other cocktails from Melbourne’s best bars including the Pimms Rangoon from Seamstress, alongside delicious American Deep South food – deep fried chicken, sliders and chocolate brownies.
Actor Rich Sommer from Mad Men was a guest at Bar Schweppes. Best known as Harry Crane on the hit TV show, Sommer was getting into the spirit of the day, betting on each race, keeping track of his tips on the back of a Bar Schweppes coaster. As this was his first trip to Australia, he said he was excited to be in the country and to be at such an exciting event. Visiting for a week, Sommer said he would recovering from the Derby Day action at his friend’s farm, and was hoping to see some kangaroos.
Australian model and actress Pia Miller and husband Brad, were also in attendance, enjoying the cocktails and the tracks spun by DJ Andy Murphy in the marquee.
Images by Jacob Medina