Fashions On The Field Fashion
Global fashion etailers are betting on the Melbourne Cup Carnival to muscle in on homegrown retail turf.
MatchesFashion, Asos, Net-a-Porter and Neiman Marcus are among the online fashion stores specifically targeting racegoers with racing magazines and emails, racing fashion collections, and visits to Australia to meet with local customers.
'Spring racing is a key moment in the Australian social calendar and we feel it is important for us to support and be part of the carnival season,' said MatchesFashion head of womenswear Natalie Kingham.MatchesFashion last week held an event in Melbourne with a personal shopping team to advise clients on race day dressing, and held another in Sydney this week previewing its collections for race day inspiration. The British etailer has also sent a dedicated racing email to its Australian database, featuring Kate Waterhouse's outfit suggestions for the carnival, and is also dressing celebrities for the races
Luxury online store Net-a-Porter has curated a selection of race day pieces, which the British luxury retailer is promoting heavily on its Australian website, and German-based Stylebop has customised its fashion buy to cater to women attending the races.
'The Valentino headbands you find on the site were bought specifically with the Australian Spring Racing customer in mind,' said Stylebop fashion direction Leila Yavari.
British website Asos has gone as far as customising its actual garments for local racegoers.
'We might have a dress with a long sleeve and think wouldn't it be fantastic if we took the sleeve off, or we could do it in a bright colour instead,' said Jackie.
'Because we offer 75,000 options at any one time, we are able to create an edit that we feel fits the bill for a requirement in a particular territory.'
Australia is among the top three global markets for many online fashion stores, making the carnival focus a savvy opportunity to grow sales and brand awareness.
'Australians should feel great confidence in knowing they are at the very top of international interest to us,' said Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downey.
The Texas-based retailer held a dinner in Sydney this week to herald its arrival in Australia, which has been perfectly timed for the races.
'I hear that the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops the country,' said Downey. 'For the girls looking for the perfect dress, we have it at Neiman Marcus.'
The advent of internet shopping has had a devastating effect on bricks and mortar fashion retail, but when it comes to the races it seems there may be enough room for everyone.
David Jones and Myer have both recorded strong sales increases ahead of the carnival.
Myer sells over 190000 dresses and over 250000 fascinators in the nine weeks leading up to the Melbourne Cup.
Racing headwear sales at David Jones have increased by 8.4 per cent this year, compared with 4.8 per cent in 2012, and the company has sold 200,000 women's dresses during this year's spring racing period.
'Racing provides a wonderful exclamation mark, it's another reason for the David Jones customer to come into the store,' said David Jones group executive of merchandise Donna Player.
FASHION TRENDS IN THE FIELD
FLORALS: From bold blooms to delicate sprays, there is a floral print out there for every personality.
TAILORING: Try a blazer with trousers or a beautifully tailored jumpsuit are alternatives to the ubiquitous dress.
HEADBANDS: A jewelled or beaded headband is a pretty alternative to a hat.
MONOCHROME: Black and white has dominated the international runways. Opt for spots or stripes to add interest.
DIGITAL PRINTS: Choose from a kaleidoscope of colourful patterns to add an edge to your Cup day look.