The Myer Spring Lunch Was a Travesty

The annual Myer Spring Fashion Lunch was held yesterday at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. This is one of the most anticipated events every single year, and for good reason: Myer never fails to present the very best of Spring Racing Carnival Fashion.

Here are a few great examples from the catwalk:

Myer Spring Lunch Travesty | what to wear to the races | Track Mode

Image: Media-mode.com

Myer Spring Lunch Travesty | what to wear to the races | Track Mode

Jennifer Hawkins in Alex Perry. Image: Media-mode.com

Myer Spring Lunch Travesty | what to wear to the races | Track Mode

Image: Media-mode.com

Over 700 guests were in attendance. I, along with several other key female figures in the racing industry, was not one of them.

Instead, VRC has chosen to fill the Myer Spring Fashion Lunch with a heap of “style ambassadors,” WAGs, and lifestyle bloggers who in no shape or form directly contribute to the horse racing industry.

I have absolutely nothing against celebrities. In fact, anyone involved in the industry will tell you that the more influential people we have who can generate attention for the sport, the better.

The conflict happens when entities like Victoria Racing Club choose to spend their resources in this way at the cost of alienating those who are truly at the heart of the industry.

Let me explain. We at Track Mode like to think of ourselves as the go-to site for the stylish and intelligent race goer. Here’s one thing we know, and something VRC and similar entities seem to have forgotten: a thoroughbred lifestyle doesn’t just mean looking good — it also means knowing what’s actually going on. This is why, besides talking about fashion and telling you what to wear to the races, we also publish guides on owning a racehorse and interviews with jockeys and their families.

Most of our readers are 25-60 years of age, with a significant portion being in their 50s. Guess what? These are the women who are the avid race goers and the ones who are wealthy enough to own horses.

Guess what again? If they have the means to buy horses, then surely they are more than capable of buying expensive dresses and millinery. These women are not interested in “style advice” from a 20-year-old model.

The current stable of “style ambassadors” at the Myer Spring Fashion Lunch appeal to women aged 18-30, the vast majority of whom cannot afford to own a horse and most likely don’t even own a race club membership. Most of them also wouldn’t have a clue about how the horse racing industry is run.

Again, this isn’t a knock against anyone. The Melbourne Cup isn’t called “the race that stops a nation” for nothing. The so-called “sport of kings” is actually one of the most inclusive and unifying symbols of Australia. The more people who can join the festivities, the better!

What’s outrageous is that we seem to have lost sight of those who are truly in the trenches in favour of all the flash and sparkle of celebrity. A commenter on social media summed it up best: “Stars don’t carry the industry. Get back to the grassroots — horses, jocks, trainers, strappers, punters and owners.”

Track Mode is a horse racing and fashion site founded and curated by Nina O’Brien. Treat yourself to our Ultimate Guide to Spring Racing Carnival 2016, or skip straight to What to Wear to the Races for inspiration. You can also subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to get exclusive race day fashion edits straight to your inbox, and be friends with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+

6 Comments

  • Sophie says:

    Fantastic! So breathtakingly honest, they are totally missing the point.

  • Belinda says:

    What a joke VRC!!

  • Jo says:

    Well said Nina! Over the years I see more and more focus on the ‘young professionals of racing’…the 18-30 somethings who look good in a tight fitting dress or an expensive suit…but as you mentioned the least likely group to be involved at the grass roots of racing. Even FOTF has been affected with many courses scraping the ‘over 40’ category for the more mature lady in favour of a ‘lady of the day’ seeing 68 year olds competing with early 20 somethings. I’m a millinery student, I’m over 50 and I’m a racehorse owner. I attend country races, mid week city meets if my real job as a chemo nurse allows and I get together with friends to enjoy the spring racing carnival in our beautiful city of Melbourne. I get up early to see our horses train or trial and go to the beach to watch them play in the waves. I love every aspect of the sport but I am dismayed that the likes of Myer are not at all interested in catering to me…a true all year round supporter of the racing industry.

  • Lucile says:

    Totally agree with you Nina. VRC are kidding themselves, MRC is right behind them!

  • Dee says:

    Young members events at Flemington are evidence of the lack of interest in/knowledge of the sport.

  • Kerry says:

    Nina, I have only just read you comment and applaud everything you have said. I am over 60, have shares in two racehorses myself with a group of women plus my husband’s syndicate has shares in 12 horses currently racing in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland. We, as owners are the ones that provide the “entertainment” at the races. We attend open days at our stables, are vitally interested in the training reports, attend the sales and like to spend money on outfits to wear to the races. Yes, there are just a couple of good designers who cater to my agegroup but I am really not interested in buying clothes that were designed for 35 and under. A lot of designers are missing out on earning money by designing for older women who are happy to buy clothing that suit an older body….eg no plunging necklines, structure, covered arms, longer length and most of all, natural fabrics which breathe in our hot summers. Silk jersey, cotton sateen, cotton linen mixes. Polyesters should be banned!!!!!

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