spring races fashion headwear

by Elisa Parry

We quizzed award-winning milliner Catherine Kelly on the spring racing style trends of 2017.  

You're planning on being trackside at the Melbourne Cup or the Sydney or Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival this year. You have your outfit planned, you’ve got your shoes and accessories ready to go, but when it comes to choosing a headpiece you’re feeling a little overwhelmed… Never fear, RedBalloon is coming to your rescue with some spring racing style advice from the experts.

Award-winning milliner Catherine Kelly of Embellish Atelier has a range of workshops available on RedBalloon where you can style and create your own headpieces and fascinators. With over 12 years’ experience in millinery, she really knows her stuff. Catherine even designed and created Naomi Simson’s stunning headpiece for last year’s Melbourne Cup event. Here are her hot tips on how to nail spring racing headwear. 

Naomi's stunning headpiece made by Catherine Kelly.

What are your foolproof tips for designing the right headpiece?

"Using beautiful materials, developing a good technique and being neat is very important when designing your own headpiece. But it’s also about having fun and experimenting with the materials." 

A work in progress.

What common mistakes do people make when it comes to spring racing headwear?

"If you are making your own, it’s always a good idea to try to minimise your use of glue. Then it’s about learning the proportions that suit you. If you’re very tall, then a very tall crown is going to make you look even taller. If you are vertically challenged, then it’s fine to have that little bit of extra height to your piece. 

The way you wear the hat is also very important. There are lots of rules about the way you sit the hat on the head. It’s also good to keep in mind that a headpiece is a three-dimensional piece. What you see when you look in the mirror is not what everybody else sees, as they are seeing it from every angle."


The 'Robin' - Headband with Raffia Pom Pom and Spotted Veiling Trim.

What are some key style trends we can expect to see this year?

"You can expect to see a lot of halos. The boater is still around and the turban is quite popular. Lace is also still on trend. When it comes to colours, there is a lot of red and pink around. Black and white is always a popular choice."

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