FOR some, the races may be about horses and finishing lines, but to many – namely the ladies – it’s all about fashion. The Investec Derby Festival, for which City A.M. is the official newspaper, is just a month away and one of the most eagerly anticipated is the Ladies Day, not least because it will give many the opportunity to strut their stuff in their most glamorous ensembles at the event’s annual competition Style on the Downs.
Erin O’Connor is the official face of the festival and will be judging the competition, which will award £15,000 worth of prizes to the most fashionable attendees. She will also be sporting a specially created design by celebrity milliner Louis Mariette.
“I can’t wait to wear it,” says O’Connor. “I am a hat girl through and through.”
Mariette, to the uninitiated, is of the UK’s most esteemed hat designers (not to mention a former judge on Britain’s Next Top Model) and counts Sophie Dahl, Kate Moss and Gwen Stefani among his fans.
His hat for O’Connor, pictured right, is a bold sculptural fan design inspired by exotic birds. “Erin is almost like an exotic bird herself, so this is perfect,” says Mariette. “She’s also got the height to carry it off. I love her look. It’s going to be so great on the day.”
O’Connor knows style better than anyone. The model has strutted the catwalks for John Galliano, Miuccia Prada and Giorgio Armani, among many. She offered the following fashion advice to Ladies Day attendees: “The trick is not to follow trends. Find styles and designs that suit your body shape. Most importantly, wear your clothes with confidence.”
Mariette too, proffered some advice for competition hopefuls. “Don’t wear a fussy outfit if you have a striking hat, pick one thing to focus on or it will be overwhelming.” He added: “Embrace bold colours. It’s spring! Ladies Day is when you get to be a peacock. It’s a fantastic excuse to dress up.”
Ladies Day is being held on Friday June 3rd, and is already generating excitement among racing fans. To enter Style on the Downs, visitors simply need to don a hat or fascinator. Entrants will be judged on the day by O’Connor and an expert panel of judges (10 finalists will also get to strut their stuff in the winning circle and filmed for the BBC’s live coverage.)
Tickets: From £30
For information on Ladies Day, Style on the Downs and Investec Derby Festival Tickets:.
0844 579 3004 www.Epsomdowns.co.uk