Country glamours dazzle on Derby Day as Cloncurry Fashion on the Field winner snags $10,000 cash – ABC News

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It was an ebony and ivory affair on Derby Day in country Queensland as droves of ladies converged on the outback town of Cloncurry for the racing club’s Fashions on the Field event.

Lavishly lined eyes were firmly fixed on the coveted cash prize of $10,000; the richest cash reward for a race day fashion competition in Australia.

The best of the best from across the state were drawn to Cloncurry’s red-dirt racecourse to showcase their track-side style.

Exquisite outfits of checkered couture and monochrome masterpieces put judges to the task.

Competition judge and vice president of the Cairns Amateurs fashion committee Arabella Kullack said the event was on par with the nation’s major cup day.

“All the ladies were just so stunning and the quality of the event was on par with Melbourne Cup day,” she said.

A row of ladies dressed in black and white Derby Day fashion stand on-stage
Dozens of ladies travelled from all around Queensland to compete in the Cloncurry Fashions on the Field.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Derby day shoes Cloncurry races
Ladies put their polished feet forward on stage.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Lady wearing circular black hat Cloncurry Races
Ladies were also judged on their accessories and styling.

Style musts

Ladies had to adhere to traditional race-day fashion rules.

“Contestants were judged on their style and originality in relation to the customary theme of black and white on Derby Day,” said event organiser Ele Avery.

“Ladies were also judged on their attention to detail with their accessories and styling, as well as the appropriateness of their outfit for spring racing and the weather on the day.

“Headwear is also judged and should complement an outfit, while grooming and deportment is also important, as is a relaxed and fun attitude,” Ms Avery said.

Winner and runner up of first event at Cloncurry Races
Emma DeHennin (left) won both the first round of Fashions on the Field and the final event.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Lady with earring Cloncurry races
Earrings, hats, bags and gloves made each ensemble sing on the day.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)

Lady of the day

At the end of the day, it was the sartorial prowess of Emma DeHennin that saw her sashed Lady of the Track.

“This was an incredible event. I’m so grateful. It was a fierce competition with so many lovely ladies involved and I just can’t thank everyone enough for what was an incredible race day,” the Yeppoon mum said.

Ms DeHennin said her outfit was the culmination of months searching for the right materials.

“I looked for a long time for houndstooth fabric. It took me about two months to find the right fabric, and then I worked with Milva Carucci in Mareeba to bring my ideas to life and my hat is by Millinery by Mel in Mareeba.”

A woman wearing a black and white checkered dress suit at race day
Ms DeHennin took home the top prize for her winning outfit of houndstooth fabric and detailed accessories. (ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Emma's Hat Cloncurry Races
Ms DeHennin’s statement headpiece wowed judges who praised the Yeppoon mum for her attention to detail.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Two ladies wear extravagant black and white hats on race day
Local milliners were busy in the lead-up to the races with exuberent head pieces a highlight of the event.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)

Big day for a small town

Cloncurry’s Derby Day Fashions on the Field was the culmination of a series of fashion events held at several race meets over the year.

“We’ve aimed to elevate the fashion here at Cloncurry to the next level just to promote outback racing and ladies in racing,” an event organiser said.

“We have so much creative talent out here with milliners, seamstresses.

“It’s really all about showcasing wearable art.

“People from all over the state have visited our race meets throughout the year and they’re eating at the local pubs and shopping at the local businesses.”

A woman wears a fancy hat on race day
The black and white theme of Derby Day saw a range of classic looks paraded down the runway.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Penny cloncurry races
Contestants were judged on their style and originality in relation to the customary theme of black and white on Derby Day.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)
Cloncurry races fashion judges
Judges were put to the task selecting the winner from a pool of quality fashion ensembles.(ABC North West Queensland: Larissa Waterson)

“The event is growing each year and we would love to put Cloncurry in the spotlight for our fashions: We have a great track, great committee and great community.

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