Written by Kerrie Carucci of The Opulent Lifestyle Collective. Kerrie explains the importance of fashion and the psychology behind how we interact with trends and information.
To experience the roar from thousands of Winx fans wooing with all encouragement that simply made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, gave you goosebumps and made your cheeks sore from smiling so hard. I was in complete ore of such a beautiful four legged creature storming down the home straight effortlessly after cruising in the back of the pack. A true reminder of what starts as something small can truly end great!
Always having a strong desire to one day to fashionably frolick and experience the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, this year I decided to head down to The Fashion Chute presented by theraces.com.au in conjunction wtih the Australian Turf Club to take part in the newly replaced non-traditional Fashions on the Field competition.
The Sydney Autumn Carnival is broken up between 5 different race days spread over both Rosehill and Royal Randwick race tracks. WIth the first four days all selecting 8 finalists from each day of photographs to then be part of The Final on Longines Queens Elizabeth Stakes - Day 2 of the Championships on Saturday 8th April. The Fashion on the Field competition has stepped away from the traditional entry routine to bring a 'photographic' capture and entry analogy. Being the first time exposed to this style of fashions on the field competition myself, I will admit I wasn't sure how it would work. Though upon reflection and like any situation it presents both it's pros and cons as the digital age is truly molding the future.
What was shaping up to be the perfect Sydney day in autumn with blue skies, a gentle cool breeze, it really was an amazing day to be at the track.
THE FASHION CHUTE
Upon arrive, The Fashion Chute itself was amazing! Gorgeous, interment and a beautifully styled marquee that encompassed Longines signature colours though also be blooming with a feminine, pastel setting. On entry to the venue you have the opportunity to have your photograph taken by a professional photographer which is then uploaded with your details and that is your entry.
From that image (mine is pictured below), amongst all the others from that day, 8 finalists will be chosen by a panel of fashion forward judges to proceed to the finals. Once your photo as been taken and you are all entered, you are free to leave the area to enjoy some of the day's fun racing activities and if you successfully make it through to the shortlist, you will get a phone call or a text message with the wonderful information in a couple of hours.
The final award was judged by a panel of esteemed judges including Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief at Vogue Australia; designers Alexandra and Genevieve Smart from Ginger and Smart; Nerida Winter, the Official Milliner to the Australian Turf Club; and Robert Carroll from The Strand Hatters.
With Queen Elizabeth Stakes as a bit of a theme direction that I had form the begging, I wanted to create a look that was a showstopper, something that was classic though also a little fashion forward yet still sophisticated and stylish.
The concept of the dress had been in the works a couple of months in advance. After sourcing some amazing Italian brocade from overseas late last year, I knew that this was a piece I could foresee to bringing the overall theme together. Mum and I call it 'Regina' - Italian for queen, which to me seemed fitting for Day 2 of the Championships.
Having quite a wow factor and bold print with subsequent detailing and the perfect complimentary colour palette, this seemed perfect for a very classic style. Together we decided upon a classic off the shoulder style dress that for me is one of my all time favourite's though most importantly suits my body shape perfectly.
Adding in a statement bell sleeve complete with a black chiffon contrast allowed the outfit to have flow though also giving a slight nod to the fan feature in the pattern. As usual mum did a phenomenal job on executing my vision and again allowing the perfect custom fit!
My amazing fascinator was an incredible matt and patent black custom flower halo crown by Sophie at Allport Millinery. This incredible woman just gets me! She can see my vision, provide expert advice though also produces the most phenomenal workmanship!
We decided on this style to allow simplistic drama to the outfit with again consciously tying in the fan and symmetry of the fabric
To me this is ultimately one of my favourite though can also be the most stressful part of an outfit! Accessories are the finishing touches and the 'touchy feely' part of the outfit that truly bring your entire look together or can simply make it clash.
I went with a black tassel detailed clutch from Colette, black tassel earrings (my fav) and other jewellery from Lovisa; a beautiful italian gold bracelet from Florence (gift from my parent's trip) and finished off with classic, patent stiletto heels by Tony Bianco.
My look was completed with a sleek low bun for the Halo piece to sit neatly in and the very talented Greer from Miss Moss Makeup did an amazing job on my makeup!
Something I love about racing fashion is being able to execute an entire collective look; my aim is to always be sophisticated and look 'well put together'.
THE FINISHING POST
With so many phenomenal outfits on the day, I was enthralled to have a phonecall from the organisers informing that I had been chosen as one of the Top 3 in the Longines Prize of Elegance! This is chosen by the reputable associations with Longines on an outfit with style and sophistication, everything their brand stands for. Such an honour to be chosen for such a prestigious finishing to then be told whilst lining up that I had also been chose as one of the Selected 8 from the Day 2 of the Championshps!
The final 32 across the four days, both men and women all went up in heats for then the judging panel chose the Top 10.
I was soo estactic when they called my number! Being up there with so many amazingly put together outfits was just incredible!
It really was such an incredible weekend! Meeting some amazing new faces, catching up with old friends and really what is better then a day at the track surrounded by amazing fashion, good company, champagne and fun!
For now, it is planning Seven's Brisbane Racing Carnival and also the anticipated launch of something super exciting that together with Milva Carucci Designs I have been collaborating on!
If you aren't already following @milva.carucci.designs or @kerriecarucci_ on instagram, this is where all the sneak peaks will be taking place!
We came, we GIPHY'd, we sipped champagne & rode the Flemington Ferris Wheel
I'm sure most of you are feeling the 'festive season flutter' now the warmer months are truly are upon us here in Queensland, the days are getting longer and the social calendars are filling fast!
The delay for this wrap up is in light of the absolute perpetual fatigue following the epic lead up to the week, results of the truly amazing time we all had and the sultry weekend conditions on arrival back into HOT Brisbane! It's safe to say that say that Melbourne got us good! An absolutely fantastic week indulging in some amazing quality family time, a few too many Brunetti's treats, fabric sourcing, fashion and of course some amazing race day fun with friends! And for the record, anyone looking at going to the Spring Carnival next year, get yourself to THE PARK! Honestly one of the best set ups I've ever seen! Amazingly themed, areas, food stalls, numerous bars, entertainment was next level and the little touches like cute GIPHY booths and custom illustrations were aplenty!
When we first booked flights and accommodation all the way back in May on what would be one of the BIGGEST bucket list items of mine, it seemed like it was soo far away with plenty of time to plan all things racing fashion! How mistaken was I!
For those who are only new on the racing fashion scene or have watched from afar, Melbourne is the PINNACLE of Australian Racing Fashion! Being the most prestigious event of the year, the race that literally stops the nation, naturally comes international beauties, show stopping millinery and some beyond amazingly styled outfits! Collating outfits for the 3 main race days is a fashionista's dream though also somewhat a stressful, STRESSFUL venture. It's not just about the bags, shoes, outfits, millinery, hairdressers appointments, getting in and out of cabs, ubers or public transport with handcrafted masterpieces on your head all the while ensuring you don't sink on the grass......
It's the months of planning, sketching, Sunday's spent fabric sourcing, stalking runways for inspiration, more sketches, a GIZZILON picture messages back and forth (think my running total with mum is around 5,000) hahah, building the 'looks' that you want to achieve. Now for the part that you don't truly consider when you are all 'warm & fuzzy' with your outfit choices, have shed blood, sweat and tears conjuring them up and are soooo emotionally invested in the certainty that you have nailed the perfection combination of current trends, palettes though of course with your own twist.
You look amazing, feel amazing but then it happens.....
(WARNING - Style and fashion is an art. Like any art it's always up for interpretation)
The judging panel and their solitude racing fashion opinion on the day is simple:
• May not like pink
• May not be comfortable with textural clashing
• May not like the way you pose
• May be over seeing bell sleeves
• May not like crowns
• May be thinking about the delicious espresso martini's they will have later in the birdcage
You can see a bit of a trend here? So really throwing out a bit of a bold statement, though unless they are ex-national finalists of previous fashions on the field, winners, racing fashion influencer's or milliner's within the industry then there is subsequent amount of variables. When you're literally wearing a little bit of your heart on 'your sleeve' it can be a bit of a blow to your fashionista ego not even make it through to the next round. Something to be mindful of and THE most important thing to remember is that it's just one person's opinion. Though I'm sure any contestant will agree, it's a dam good feeling having your number called out and better yet to be SASHED!
To the outfits
Milva Carucci Designs was represented not only for the first time on custom pieces worn by myself though also mum and a few stunning clients! For mum that was a fantastic achievement in itself to have her workmanship in amongst the best!
The first official day of Spring Carnival renowned for black and white and classic styles! Well Melbourne certainly delivered! An amazing, blue sky day, pleasurable temperature and being a Saturday it certainly brings Melbourne-ites out of hiding!
My Derby Day outfit started with some gorgeous textural brocade patent look fabric sourced a few months ago from The Fabric Store in Brisbane. Wanting something classic with clean, structured lines, mum and I decided to use a similar style from what I wore earlier in the year.
The ever amazing and talented Sophie of Allport Millinery worked her magic to create the perfect complementary piece! Deciding to go with the large off white texture sinamay disc allowed the outfit to have a little mystery though also a suttle statement. Shoes by Divaolina provided the clean lines and patent feel to be continued and additionally a hexagon shaped Olga Berg Clutch.
Mum's dress was a gorgeous fluted collar and bell sleeve combination in an offwhite and black contrast Josh Goot fabric also sourced from The Fabric Store. A custom piece by Liana of Sonlia Fashion added texture and femininity to the outfit.
I didn't have any luck in making it through the heats that day though we had a good day on the punt and enjoyed the hospitality and 'Park' vibes of Day 1!
MELBOURNE CUP DAY
The race that stops the nation! Though also brings some amazing, unusual and showstopping pieces to the track! There were giant feather mohawks, bright colour palettes and some colourful characters on display. Some even took the chance to strip down to their bright budgy smugglers to make the most of Melbourne's sunshine!
The idea behind this impart was just all about the focal point of the fabric. This was sourced a few years ago again from The Fabric store in Brisbane. A gorgeous textured polyester fabric that had the sweetest blue bird print. With blue being a large trend this year, I thought it would be only fitting to keep the style simple to let the fabric really sing and then pick up the subtle blue in the fabric in accessories and millinery. Another big trend this racing season has been the boater and seeing the work of Ann Shoebridge last year I decided to go with a custom lace brim boater. Accessories were simple with jewellery from Lovisa, shoes Tony Bianco and a Colette clutch.
Keeping with a bird theme, Mum's amazing outfit also had a statement print in a tonal blue palette also sourced from The Fabric Store. With a gorgeous simple style to allow the print do the talking, contrasted bell sleeves allowed a section of flow to her outfit. Again complemented by an eye catching millinery piece by Sonlia.
As the nerves were a little less on being the second day, I was absolutely wrapped to have made it through to the Prelim finals. From there all competitors go back to the green room for a champagne and await the next round. From up to 80 girls it is cut to the Top 10! It was an amazing experience and somewhat achievement to make it through! Though the true highlight was spending the day enjoying the races, espresso martini's,dancing to Betty Who and Marcia Hines though having so many lovely people in the crowd compliment me on my outfit that day! That's what fashion really is about, loving your outfit, owning your styling and having a good time!
Not only did I make it through to the prelims but so did another of mum's clients. The gorgeous, bubbly Leanne who's personality is a reflection of her amazing, bright and eye catching pink, purple and gold outfit! Was so lovely catching up with them!
Cassandra also wearing a custom Milva Carucci Designs dress and her own millinery creation opted for a gorgeous purple and orange number that caught the attention of many photographers and spectators!
Amanda wore a stunning emerald green fitted lace dress that had an amazing back detail!
CROWN OAKS DAY
Last day of the carnival is always the biggest! Unfortunately mum and dad had to fly out that morning so today was the last day to really enjoy Flemington! The State finals for Victoria with the winner going through to the National finals where the winner receives up to $300k in prizes including a new Lexus!!
My outfit was simple in style as once again the fabric did most of the talking. Taking inspiration from Self Portrait, Mum had sourced the fabric from spotlight and opting with a combination of off the shoulder and a gathered sleeve. Being the feminine themed day of the carnival, lace and pastels seemed too fitting. This was complemented by my stunning crown by Allport Millinery! The inspiration behind the outfit was simple, 'Some days you just need to wear a crown'.
Keeping accessories to rose gold, the simplistic palette was feminine yet metallic. Shoes from Target and my trusty Olga berg clutch. Again I was so very excited to have made it into the prelim finals! So many amazing outfits!
Following the announcement of the winner it was a swift trip back to the city to jump on a plane!! Which might I add we almost missed! Quite the adventure, running through Tullamarine airport juggling hat boxes, suitcases all the while still wearing the crown which for future reference WILL prove difficult when going through airport security!
On reflection, I think my choices stood true to my style, body shape and personal 'looks' I wanted to achieve, though moving forward, Melbourne is in a bag of it's own! It's all about pushing boundaries within limits, being noticed though not focal, being structured though fluid and on trend without trending. You can see how easily it is to sit in that sash worthy position! *chuckle worthy*
Wrapping up, I can say that this has been a HUGE tick on my bucket list, some amazing quality time with my family and fashionista friends is what makes moments like these in our lives memorable! It's really not about the shoes, bags, fascinators or sashes, it's truly about the time and people for all facets of life that you surround yourself in these beautiful memories.
Absolutely bursting with gratitude the last couple of months preparation and wanted to take a moment to truly thank those involved with bringing my visions to life. To the ever talented Sophie of Allport Milinery thank you for simply creating such amazing pieces! Ann Shoebridge my blue boater is certainly now a favorite in my collection, thank you for letting those little birds fly!
But last but not least is my amazing and uber talented mum, words can't express how grateful and in oar I am of you and your amazing seamstress skills! I know I'm possibly your most difficult client though you never cease to amaze me!
P.S. If you're still reading, thanks for clicking the link! Your support to myself though most importantly my amazing Mum's brand is truly appreciated! Between us both, there is more creative inspiration then the walls of Chanel!
2017 is promised to be an exciting one with many plans on 'THE LIST". To stay up to date and in the know on sneak peaks, new fabrics and collections, make sure you subscribe and follow us on social media! Links are below.
Where has the this year gone?
It feels like only yesterday that Milva (mum) and I planning were my Magic Millions outfit at the start of January! Though here we are now, at the end of October and the race to the finish post (that being the pinnacle of Spring Racing Season - Flemington Melbourne Cup Carnival) is on!!!
What has been a crazy, creative, rewarding yet busy year so far for Milva Carucci Designs it goes without saying it has been an exciting one!
So many wonderful clients, Australia wide being able to partake in the amazing soul, bursting experience of owning their very first custom outfit or simply bringing to life by their visionary of inspiration or requirement!
Spring is the season of weddings, engagements, baby showers, births, school formals and of course spring carnival races across Australia. Here's a bit of a recap on the past two months of a few of the gorgeous client's in their spring custom made outfits in the lead up to Melbourne Cup Carnival!
To kick off the Spring Racing Season Cairns Amateurs was first on the calender. Renowned for bringing together the colour, fun and festivities encompassing the reef to the races it consists of two major days of racing and some fierce FNQ Fashions on the Field Competition.
Friday 1st of September was Ladies Day which is made up of classic racewear, fun lines and delving into on trend components.
The second day of the festivities is Amateur Cup Day. More spring colour and celebrations continue with fashion, races and flowing champagne!
It's not all hard work and no play though! Milva was able to enjoy a day at the track with her dapper husband. It is always nice to be able to catch up with client's on the day and see their amazing outfits all come together!
Everyone looked so very amazing with Bella's gorgeous grey and cream print classic style dress with a twist made the Finals for the fashion on the field in the Under 30 category.
And everyone loves a bit of dress twirling action !
With Spring now in full swing........ the race days were to follow on the Atherton Tablelands & Mareeba.
Below is a snippet of Milva Carucci Design's stunning client's in their custom pieces!
Meanwhile, down in south east Queensland the southern spring racing carnival kicked off.
I attended the Pink Ribbon Cup Day down on the Gold Coast. With such a worthy cause with all proceeds going towards the National Breast Cancer Association, it's always a good excuse to frock up in over the top pink and enjoy a day in the sunshine with friends over a few champers!
Keeping the style quite simple to let the vibrant fuschia pink digital floral print fabric shine, we opted for a boat neck fitted bodice with a gusset flared skirt dress. Complete with a vintage boater with a last minute addition of white veiling and pink braiding to pull the whole look together!
And back up in FNQ, Innisfail Annuals was held. From what would be quite a wet race day (in true Innisfail style), the ever gorgeous Lucy was absolutely beaming in her bright yellow jacquard off the shoulder dress! Absolutely stunning style on her and with a pop of colour demanded spring attention! She made Top 6 in the Under 30's category and won Best Millinery!
As the start of Brisbane Racing Club's spring carnival events kicked off on the 15th of October, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to have a bit of a Melbourne Cup Carnival warm up!
Being the National Breast Cancer Awareness Pink day, the theme was a touch of pink. Rewearing one of my favourite dresses, I had Amy from Pink Lane Hats whip me up this amazing large brim boater. Keeping with on trend metallic rose gold, accessories complimented that. It was a fantastic day at the track catching up with friends and even making it into the finals for the Fashions on the Field.
With Melbourne Cup carnival in full swing there was no real time to prepare for last weekend's SUEZ Cox Plate so this was a bit of a throw together outfit! With the fashions on the field themed 'Embellishments & Individuality', this was a skirt I wore over the winter carnival with an off the shoulder flounce sleeve. Complete with a laser cut piece by Danica Erard millinery.
A very brief overview of the wonderful Milva Carucci Designs client's over the start of spring!
As you can see it has been a very busy few months in preparation though now it's time for mum to have a well deserved holiday as we head off to Melbourne for a week filled with fashion, Flemington, horses, food and the amazing Melbourne culture! Stay tuned for the Spring Carnival Wrap up on our return to give you a full run down on our spring carnival outfit preparations!
From screenshots to the perfect wardrobe addition and all things SPRING! See how the latest trends can transpire into the perfect custom piece!
Where has this year gone? Truly though it's pretty amazing that we are sitting at the last day of winter and spring is just a mere few hours away! This time of year is simple the perfect blossoming for weddings, celebrations, spring babies, not to mention some of Far North Queensland biggest race events of the year and of course the pinnacle of Spring Racing Carnival season that commences all over the country!
So with the change of seasons and the social media feeds fastly streaming with the latest trends, we look to what is bringing creative flow to Milva Carucci Design pieces though also what trends client's are bringing as their collective of ideas and inspiration!
One of the biggest take aways from European Spring/Summer runways and also what has inspired Australian designer's spring collections are a few key components
OFF THE SHOULDER
CUT AWAY SHOULDER
WHITE ON WHITE
So with oh so many gorgeous pieces, silhouettes and fabric combinations it is no wonder that the creative minded simple are buzzing in a sea of ideas! inspiration strikes from so many different sources, a flower, the colour combination of the sky, a sunset, a particular theme, these all add value and essence to an idea.
This inspiration is what brings idea's to life!
With technology being literally at our fingertips on the constant, we can now live-stream fashion shows from attendees of runways, 'to-the-minute' uploads of a new collection or even be exposed to pre-season behind the scenes footage!
It is simple no surprise that we have all ended up in a Instagram scrolling, Pinterest screen shooting society! Having so much inspiration around it is hard not to want the latest designer's outfit or runway trends, though you have no idea how you could ever realistically afford it? Well unless you won the lotto?
If you have a special event that you have in mind, by consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced dressmaker they will be able to take your idea's and discuss options in a feasible way to bring these designs into a similar, perfectly fitted latest wardrobe addition.
As a client, collecting fashion inspiration images, patterns, fabrics, colour palettes and themes can assist greatly in achieving the perfect look that you are wanting to achieve. By 'painting' this overall image it allows cohesiveness for the finished outfit. Through this collection a talented dressmaker can get a good understanding about certain silhouettes that you like or fabric combinations that you're leaning towards. Adding their industry experience and expertise, fabrics can be adjusted, silhouettes can be incorporated and simple tailored or adjusted to accentuate your body shape.
Below is a fantastic winning example of a gorgeous Milva Carucci Design's client! Lucy had a few inspiration images and an overall theme that she wanted to achieve for her fashions on the field entry. Taking inspiration from those images though also using the right fabrics allowed the execution of this design to be sash worthy!
With HQ simply buzzing with an array of custom orders and Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival preparation is in full swing, stay tuned for the latest sneak peaks off the cutting table!
Yours in fashion
All images via Pinterest