The 60th running of the Carlton Mid Darwin Cup was packed full of nostalgic fashion with many putting their own unique twist on the 50’s theme. The Darwin Turf Club entices lovers of horse racing and fashion from every corner of Australia all seeking sunshine and a break from the wintery weather down south.

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Fabulous fashion on show at the 2016 Darwin Cup. Image: Darwin Turf Club

The Darwin Cup is the crescendo of an eight day dry season carnival full of style, glamour and fun with over 40 000 revellers passing through the gates at Fannie Bay on Monday, 1st August. This year Darwin resident Penny Caputi was crowned, not once but twice, as the Darwin Cup day heat winner and overall Darwin Cup Carnival winner. She was chosen out of 8 other heat finalists from the feature race days leading up to the finale. Penny has set her sights on traveling south to brave the cooler weather and compete in the Myer Fashions on the Field at the Melbourne Cup later in the year.

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Penny showing off her beautiful tropical inspired ensemble. Image: Darwin Turf Club

Penny’s outfit caught the eye of the judges and was a perfect representation of Darwin’s colourful atmosphere and picturesque landscapes. She was an absolute delight to chat to and her attitude towards dressing up for the races is a positive breath of fresh air!

The chance to have a day off from ‘mum duties’ and dress up is what many of us look forward to when we attend the races, and Penny is no exception. A day out with the girls is often the break we need and unexpectedly Penny’s beautiful yellow 50’s inspired outfit won her 3rd place on Ladies Day. Planning an outfit and attending with friends is what the day is about, not the prizes, “winning is a bonus” says Penny.

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Penny’s vintage inspired outfit for Ladies Day in Darwin 2016

Listening to Penny talk about how she put together her outfit made it clear that the reason many of us love racing fashion is because we put so much of ourselves into the process, who we are and our personality is represented in what we wear on the day. Having no intention to win Penny’s focus is on the elements of her outfit and expressing her creative side.

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Penny SASHED as the overall Darwin Cup Carnival winner. Image Darwin Turf Club

Penny’s winning Darwin Cup outfit came together with the help of her talented dressmaker Therese and award winning milliner Belinda Osborne, from Peacock Millinery. Her love for textiles and lotus flowers were the driving force behind the outfit. She instantly fell in love with the locally designed fabric for her dress when she saw it hanging up in Nomad Art shop in Parap.

Millinery creation by Belinda Osborne

Locally designed fabric from Nomad Art, Parap NT

With the standout feature of her outfit locked in Penny began thinking about her headpiece and planned a unique design to match the fabric. She sketched an idea on the back of sick bag while on a family holiday, proof that creativity really can strike at any time. After googling for lotus flowers she came across Belinda’s work and couldn’t believe her luck that she was based in Darwin. With a full schedule Belinda admits that the unique design got her excited so she was able to squeeze Penny in, the lure of creating something new and totally unique is what milliners thrive on.

Penny’s original sketch for her Darwin Cup outfit ideas

Penny’s Perspex bag, shoes and 1950’s dragon fly brooch were the finishing touches tying together the entire look by complimenting the beautiful dress shape and print. Most importantly Penny loved what she had put together and felt confident in her design. Penny admits that it is nerve wracking to get up in front of people, not matter how great you feel, but the trick is to “fake it ‘til you make it”. Women often doubt how they look so she suggests that we should all “dress to your shape and be proud of what you’ve got”.

Not only beautiful on the outside, but an equally lovely person on the inside, Penny is a winner for more than just looking good. Her heart and personality clearly shine through and we wish her all the best as she ventures down to Melbourne to show off her lovingly made creation, which we know will be a hit!

Follow Therese on Facebook
Contact Belinda via her website

Feature Image: NT News