Melbourne Cup - Hats are the Essential Accessory!

Melbourne Cup - Hats are the finishing touch to a great race-day outfit. Photo: Getty Images

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is a 3200-metre race for three-year-olds and over, run at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, on the first Tuesday of November, as part of the Spring Racing Carnival. Its known at the race that stops the nation.

We published a post about Melbourne Cup in 2020 - check this link for the history of the Cup and other interesting facts.

The Melbourne Cup
We are the only nation on Earth that stops for a horse race and that race is “The Melbourne Cup” which is run on the 1st Tuesday in Novemember. The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 and “Archer” won by a staggering 6 lengths. Image: Archer, with jockey J Cutts by Frederick Woodhouse Snr

Melbourne Cup hats and fashion are the hallmark of Melbourne Spring Racing glamour. It is the time for race and partygoers to go shopping for that unique outfit, fascinator or hat.

Following the tradition of English sophistication, stylish fascinators and hats have been an essential part of the Spring Racing fashion. While they used to be extravagantly decorated hats worn with feathers and boas, the recent style of headgear has been more minimalist.1

Although anything goes as you can see from the hats below.

It would be a dream to wear a hat created by Rose Hunter who has won numerous awards over her career as a milliner which spans more than 40 years.

Dell and I had the pleasure of meeting Rose at her studio The Hat Blockers, in Advantage Road, Highett, in an arts precinct on which we published a post a few days ago. If you missed this post click here.

Hats by Rose Hudson  Photo: Jane

Rose has worked in all areas of the performing arts, including with the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, Victorian State Opera and was Supervisor of the Millinery Department at the Melbourne Theatre Company for twenty years.

She has made hats for film and television; recent work includes the Dressmaker and Essie Davis’ headwear in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on ABC TV. Rose’s work has been exhibited at the NGV, the Maritime Museum of Sydney and Flinders University Adelaide.

During her two-year term (2016-2018) as President of the Millinery Association of Australia Rose’s aim was to uphold great millinery standards, promote the wearing and manufacture of beautiful hats and to continue to educate the public by raising awareness of the extraordinary art of millinery.

Rose’s most recent millinery can be seen on the big screen in the feature film, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears where she made all the headwear worn by Essie Davis, designed by Margot Wilson. She is currently working on headwear for the lead and characters in the musical 9 to 5, which opened in 2020.2

A Selection of Rose Hunter's hats Photo: Jane

We were fascinated with the hat she designed with a little mouse on the top, named Hickory Dickory

As Rose described it:

With an eye to the future and a nod to the past, this genderless wearable art price incorporates a balancing toy mounted on a hat with traditional materials rarely used in modern millinery manufacturing today.
Skill acquired in more than four decades of workroom experience happily collide in this work of whimsy.

The hat is made of velvet (signifying wealth) and calico (signifying poverty). The mouse, which swings through the ragged hole on the other side of the hat, has cheekily nabbed the numeral "1" one from the clock face.

Rose’s hats are wonderful pieces of imaginative art. Here is another one of her fabulous creations.

Photo: Jane