This weekend I had the privilege of attending Thoroughbred Events Australia’s Spring Millinery Luncheon, organised and hosted by the fabulous Sharon Lenton. Held at Parkroyal Darling Harbour, it was a wonderful day celebrating racing fashion and the wide variety of ladies involved in the racing industry. This event hosts the largest millinery exhibition in NSW, with hundreds of headpieces offered for purchase by milliners from all across Australia, as well as displays of jewellery and cosmetics.
Sharon Lenton is a racing events powerhouse, and has been heavily involved in the racing industry for many years. Sharon founded Thoroughbred Events Australia in 2008 to showcase the work of Australian milliners, and runs these Ladies Luncheons in Spring and Autumn each year to display the new season’s styles. Throughbred Events Australia is also involved in the sponsorship and organisation of Fashions on the Field competitions at many racetracks around NSW.
Sharon also founded The Thoroughbred Club, an initiative that supports ex-racehorses in their lives after racing – a cause that is very close to my own heart! The Thoroughbred Club sponsors a number of events and competitions around Australia, offering prizes to the best performed ex-racehorses. The events sponsored by TTC include Polo in the City, SIEC World Cup Showjumping, Tamworth World Cup Showjumping, Scone Hunt Club, Scone Polo Club, Quirindi Show Society and Northside Riding Club, with a view to expand as more funds are raised. TTC not only provides sponsorship for competitions, but has also purchased 4 off-the-track racehorses and placed them in new homes to begin their new lives. Sharon is also a racing fashion guru and owns Zac & Tallulah, a couture label that caters for everyone from Fashions on the Field girls to the most glamorous racehorse owners.
There were a number of special guest speakers at the Luncheon, sharing their tales of life in the racing industry. Lucy Keegan-Attard entertained the crowd with stories of her journey from gallop rider to AI technician to assistant trainer for JA racing, and talked about the massive highs and lows that come with life with horses. We also heard from Elizabeth Treweeke, the daughter of one of Winx’s co-owners. Elizabeth was gracious enough to bring along one of Winx’s trophies, and spoke about the importance of teamwork and all the people behind the success of the champion mare.
Guests at the luncheon were treated to a gourmet lunch with an amazing dessert bar, and the champagne flowed all afternoon. Between courses, the Thoroughbred Events Australia’s ambassadors modelled a selection of headpieces from each of the milliners present. The milliners’ stands were packed all day with ladies trying on hats to update their spring racing wardrobes. With so much of our shopping done online these days, it’s an amazing opportunity to actually be able to feel and try on many different styles of hats in one place! I found a number of new styles that I loved, which probably wouldn’t have caught my attention just by browsing photos online.
In terms of Spring headwear trends, I saw a number of large brims featured in many milliners’ displays. Renowned milliner Neil Grigg said that he is enjoying the re-emergence of crin, a fabric that was once considered to be “cheap and cheerful”, but is fantastic for creating big feature hats while keeping softness around the face. Florals and flower crowns continued to dominate, with many ladies saying they like the headband styles as they are just so easy to wear. For those who think the boater has had its day – these were one of the most popular styles being purchased on the day! As always, bright colours are on trend for spring, and bold yellow headpieces featured in a number of milliners’ collections. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these headpieces hitting FOTF runways this season!
It was a fantastic afternoon, and I’ll certainly be back again for the next one. I highly recommend getting a few friends together and coming along – there’s no better way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon than surrounded by fabulous food, fashion and likeminded ladies!
Photos and content produced with thanks to Sharon Lenton and Thoroughbred Events Australia.