Racegoers take on controversial fashion rule

MELBOURNE CUP
Princess Diana’s nieces turned heads at the 2023 Melbourne Cup. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden

For the first time in its 162 years, both men and women were allowed to wear shorts in the Melbourne Cup’s members section, though few pounced on the opportunity.

This reluctance to partake in the reformed dress code unfolded despite the sweltering heat, which reached 31C at its peak.

Racegoers generally agreed the reforms had in fact been a positive change.

Chief executive of Plarre Food Group, Steve Plarre, was one brave attendee who embraced the new rules, dressed in a coordinated blue and red outfit incorporating lightweight shorts.

“Firstly, standing out at the Melbourne Cup is always top of mind for everyone,” he said.

“Secondly, it’s hot.”

MELBOURNE CUP
Steve and Kate Plarre attend the Cup. Steve wore shorts to the extravagant affair, a controversial move for some. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden

The new rules require shorts to rest just above or below the knee – for both men and women.

Mr Plarre said comfort remained at the forefront of all attendees who, despite wanting to turn heads, also wanted to let loose.

“I want to enjoy the event and sometimes that’s hard when it’s very hot,” he said.

“It’s a great thing, it’ll bring more people in or at the very least will make people’s memories of the event better because they weren’t stuffy the whole time.”

Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis was one racegoer who didn’t opt for the shorts but could see its potential.

Braving the heat in a dark green suit, the tennis star said he had grown weary of “getting paid out for wearing black every year”, but remained reluctant after receiving lukewarm reactions to wearing shorts in the past.

“I wore shorts at my mate’s wedding once and it didn’t go too well,” he said.

“People were asking me, ‘What are you doing?’, so I thought I’d stay in my lane today with pants.

“However, if there was a day to wear shorts it would be today – I’m pretty hot, I’m not gonna lie.”

MELBOURNE CUP
Brooke Warne said she was sympathetic to the new rule permitting men to wear shorts at the Cup. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden

Few attendees were spotted in the weather-appropriate outfit adaption, though those brave enough did so proudly.

Relentless sunny skies forced many weary patrons to seek shade, and for those who had grown tired of wearing high heels, they were forced to walk along grass to avoid the burning hot asphalt.

Brooke Warne, daughter of the late cricket legend Shane Warne, said she could understand the need to include shorts in the Cup’s dress code.

She herself had been forced to brave the heat after her car became stuck amid pro Palestine and anti Melbourne Cup protests, resulting in her having to walk the lengthy distance to the racecourse.

“Women are allowed to wear basically whatever we want to wear,” she said.

“It‘s 30C, boys should be allowed to wear shorts.”

Ms Warne insisted there was one caveat, however – “as long as they‘re not board shorts”.

Women were also able to show off their midriffs and exposed backs in the celebrity-filled Birdcage enclosures for the first time in the Cup’s more than 160-year history.

DELTA’S HIDDEN DETAIL

Songstress Delta Goodrem has revealed a hidden detail in her race day glam, as Australia’s biggest stars flock to the race that stops the nation.

About 85,000 punters descended on Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday for the Melbourne Cup, with sports stars, a-listers and social media stars populating the exclusive Birdcage area.

The Born To Try singer wore a dramatic citrus yellow gown with a sweeping head piece and gold jewellery.

She told 9Honey the jewellery was designed by ANTON, the same Australian designer who crafted the engagement ring fiance Matthew Copley used to propose in September.

MELBOURNE CUP
Songstress Delta Goodrem wears jewellery designed by the same designer of her engagement ring. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Lady Amelia Spencer and Lady Eliza Spencer, the late Princess Diana’s nieces, turned heads on the carpet. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
DJ Perri Lee cut a bold figure in a golden ensemble. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
(L-R) Lady Amelia Spencer, Delta Goodrem, model Adut Akech and Lady Eliza Spencer in the Lexus marquee. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden

T he late Princess Diana’s nieces, Lady Amelia Spencer and Lady Eliza Spencer, arrived on the carpet just after 11am.

The pair turned heads in bright red gowns, accentuating the look with glamorous headpieces.

DJ Perri Lee flirted with the dresscode in an apricot mermaid cut satin skirt and matching bralette with a nude corset to cover her bare midriff.

While a member of Australia’s racing royaly, Kate Waterhouse, stunned with a creative take on the pastel blazer dress with popped collar and scalloped hemline.

MELBOURNE CUP
Shane Warne’s daughter Brooke stunned in a glowing orange jumpsuit at the Schwepps marquee. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Kate Waterhouse, daughter of horse trainer Gai Waterhouse, dazzled in a pastel yellow suit dress. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Influencer Jessica Hoctor-Turner wears a sleek red design with an oversized red bow. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Delta Goodrem poses with a fan at the Lexus marquee. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Model Adut Akech in the Lexus marquee. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Hannah Dal Sasso was pretty in pink at the Schwepps marquee. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Model Winniy Manyang (right) with friends (l-r) Naome Waran, Addy Manyang and Monica Makuach. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden.
MELBOURNE CUP
Fashion designer Dom Bagnato sported a grey checked suit, with a blue scarf and tie accenting the look. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden
MELBOURNE CUP
Melbourne model and Fashions on the Field ambassador makes a statement with a sweeping hat and black scarf draped over her back. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josie Hayden

The race was broadcast on Channel 10.

Caulfield Cup winner Without a Fight charged home to win the race.

Irish import Vauban, a favourite before the race, finished in 14th position.

Vauban’s stablemate Absurde finished in 7th spot.