2018 Spring Carnival Highlights | Derby Day, Melbourne Cup & Oaks Day

2018 Spring Carnival Highlights | Derby Day, Melbourne Cup & Oaks Day

I’m finally home from yet another incredible Melbourne Cup week at Flemington Racecourse. I almost need a holiday from my holiday! It is, seriously, a full-on week.  I attend Derby, Cup and Oaks Day, plus I host the yearly Field Fashion Meet Up in between.

It’s always fun to compete in the Myer FOTF competitions and see my fellow race enthusiast friends…and this year I even came away with two Top Tens and a 3rd place sash! Hooray.

Here’s the recap of my week…

Getting There

Off to the airport on Friday afternoon with two suitcases (35 kilos), a garment bag and hat box in tow- a trolley is necessary.

luggage suitcase hatbox travelling to melbourne cup week

Now, from experience, staff have a habit of giving anyone with a hat box a hard time. I always manage to actually get my hat box on the plane, but every time there is a struggle over whether or not it will be allowed. It’s at this point that I start my spiel about how I’ve been travelling on airplanes for the past seven years with these hat boxes and try to assure them it is fine!

When travelling with Jetstar you are allowed two items of carry-on luggage (your handbag did not use to be included as an item, but now it is) so when they told me I had three pieces (handbag, garment bag and hat box) I zipped my handbag inside my garment bag and said, ‘now I only have two!’ They accepted me. And my bags. I needed wine by the end of this ordeal.

red wine friends at the airport

All flights were delayed three-hours, due to terrible winds in Melbourne. Luckily, Anna was with me to indulge in a nice red and some hot chippies while we waited.

Derby Day 2018

milano imai derby day 2018 black white outfit

This year, Derby Day was my favourite Day of the carnival. I absolutely loved my outfit.

I had a hat made by Louise Macdonald who lives in Melbourne, so I didn’t actually get to see my hat till the night before Derby Day, when Louise dropped it off.  It was the biggest hat box I’ve ever seen before in my life!! I am writing a separate blog on my race day outfits next, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

hat box belinda macdonald black white hat

The morning of, I had four fellow race enthusiast ladies come over to the Air BnB I was staying at in Footscray. My hair stylist I use every year, Rozi, came and did all of our hair. She does the most incredible up-styles and can make anyone’s hair look big and voluminous.

racing fashion hairstyles big voluminous buns

My hair is only shoulder length, but Rozi can make it look like I have super long hair!

It’s Melbourne, right? So, the day started out with torrential rain. Then it changed to cloudy and a little on the cool side. Then it changed again and it was nice and sunny by the time we got to the track!  It was the best weather out of all the days- perhaps another reason why it was my favourite day.

The Fashions on The Field wasn’t quite as busy as other years, but there was still no shortage of amazing outfits! Some of my favourites are shown below.

derby day 2018 outfits tulle black white sheer

Image: @emscodellaro, @petamb

derby day 2018 fashion style

Image: @sarah_vasey92, @millicentzaria

2018 derby day glamour black white dresses

Image: @wendellt photo of @laurahch111, @theemmaread

lisa march crystal kimber fashionista

Image: @lisamarch1, @crystalkimber

Filming live backstage at the Derby Day preliminary finals. 

I was lucky enough to be awarded my first Derby Day sash as the second runner up!! Yippee! I won a $500 Myer voucher and 2 night’s stay at the Sofitel in Melbourne- I’ll have to come back for a girl’s trip!

second runner up winner derby day 2018 milano imai

The winner was Kelli Odell and Carena West was first runner up!

2018 derby day winners flemington Kelli Odell and Carena West

Image: @kelli_louise, @carena_west

Field Fashion Meet Up

This was our 3rd Field Fashion Meet Up held during Spring Carnival week in Melbourne and it was held at Ludlow Bar in Southbank on Sunday.

I was thrilled to see so many ladies turn up for an afternoon of drinks, chatting and getting to know the members of our Field Fashion Community. Angela even brought us name tags to make it easier to remember everyone’s names- I have a goldfish memory, so these name tags were very handy!

field fashion meetup Ludlow Bar in Southbank

racing fashion enthusiasts meetup event

drinks bar networking women style

A glimpse of what it’s like to attend a Field Fashion Meetup Event

A few of us, who stayed around till later that evening, went a few doors down to Little Soho for a lovely dinner.

Little Soho pizza restaurant

Melbourne Cup Day 2018

There is always one rainy cold day during the week and this year it was Melbourne Cup Day. It was absolutely freezing, with heavy rain and wind. I’m sure the weather put a lot of people off attending the day.

I wore my favourite racing outfit to date, a blue dress with cascading pleats and beaded lace embellishment, made by my friend Andrew Semple (and I)! I had a stunning Dior brim hat made and hand dyed to match, by Monika Neauhauser Millinery, in NZ.

melbourne cup day 2018 outfit milano imai

We caught an Uber into the track but had to wait undercover at the entrance for 20 minutes till the rain died down a bit. I was so very very happy to have my Midi Length Trench Coat which not only kept me dry, but also kept me warm and was a great barrier from the wind.

transparent raincoat trenchcoat rain protection races

The one thing they tell you not to do as a child… put a plastic bag over your head.. oops!

We were all huddled in the FOTF tent, avoiding the rain and waiting to go on stage. I always try to take a lot of live videos on my Instagram, so everyone around the country can feel like they aren’t missing out and are there with us!

Filming live backstage at the Melbourne Cup Day preliminary finals. 

Even though I didn’t make the top ten, this was my favourite outfit ever and it felt good having plenty of ladies coming up to compliment my outfit. I felt like a winner!!

milano imai racing fashion blogger

The winners were Jordi Beard (centre) followed by Yvette Hardy (left) and Bronte Segota (right).

melbourne cup 2018 fashions on the field winners

Image credit: @ontrackontrend

Melbourne Cup Day also hosts the Myer Design Award, and this year I encouraged my friend Andrew Semple to enter. He was selected as one of just ten designers to compete!!

andrew semple myer design awards black tulle

Image: @andrewjsemple, @wendellt photo of @brittneytamou

He made a stunning black tulle dress, made up of hundreds of hand-cut circles all sewn together. He had Brittney Tamou model and her mother, Kerry, made a hat with the guidance of milliner Neil Grigg.

Andrew was awarded second runner up, an incredible achievement!! The winner was Kate Watts from Only One Ashley.

myer design award flemington 2018

Freezing cold and not wanting to ruin my dress or millinery in the rain, I left soon after the event and headed home to have a nice dinner with my Melbourne friend at Ichi Ni Izakaya Japanese restaurant- I totally recommend this place to anyone in Melbourne.

japanese dinner

Oaks Day 2018

The last day of my race week, Oaks Day is a lot of fun. Not only is this when the National Winner is crowned but the Millinery Award is also held later on in the day- so you can see hundreds of fabulous hats swanning around the track!

milano imai oaks day 2018 outfit

I wore a beautiful Alex Perry dress, which I had purchased just the day before and was up altering until 3am that morning! I paired it with a phenomenal Peacock Millinery blue pleated crinoline swirl hat.

white dress diy modification sewing

peacock millinery blue fascinator

Image credit: @peacockmillinery

Filming live backstage at the Oaks Day preliminary finals. 

I was thrilled to be in the Top Ten amongst such strong competition. The winner was my beautiful friend Lindsay Ridings, in a Maker Millinery hat hired from Millinery Market!! She also purchased her outfit the day before after being unhappy with her original dress, from Camilla and Marc.

pink twirl fascinator millinery market

Image: @lindsay.j.ridings

First runner up was Brittney Tamou in a dress by Andrew Semple, totally in LOVE with this dress! And second runner up was the always stylish Arriell Scuderi.

oaks day 2018 fashions on the field winners

Image: @brittneytamou, @whatarriellwore

Myer Millinery Award 2018

The Myer Millinery Award boasted so many incredible hats with structures, materials and ideas I’ve never seen before! I think Australia has the best milliners in the world!

There were quite a few heats, I would say over 50 entrants and this would have been a very tough competition to judge. I don’t envy the panel.

The winners were Rebecca Share, with a magnificent piece that swirled around the head and finished on the chest in a brooch like feature.

myer millinery award winner 2018

Image: @rebeccashare

She was followed by Angie Jackman who created an outstanding 3D shell- what a feat of engineering, and Amelda Millinery who made a wonderful big brim hat with contrasting colours and structured sinamay embellishment.

myer millinery award runners up 2018

Image: @angiejackmanmillinery, @ameldamillinery

The National Final 2018

The winner from Derby Day, Cup and Oaks Day all competed to see who would become the Victorian representative to then compete against the other State Finalists. The winner was Kelli Odell in her Maticevski skirt and top, with Stephanie Spencer Millinery.

victoria state finals myer fotf

Image credit: @ontrackontrend

The National Final Took Place right after, with Carle Rutledge, the QLD representative, taking out first place and the shiny new Lexus. Kelli was second and Ellis from NSW third. Woo hoo congratulations ladies!!

Carle Rutledge Kelli Odell Ellis Crewes 2018 national winner myer fotf

Image credit: @flemingtonvrc

And there you have it!! Did you attend any races during Melbourne Cup week? Share your favourite outfit below.


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2018-11-22T07:09:07+10:00November 22nd, 2018|Race Day Updates|
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