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2012 Dubai World Cup: Weird Fashion Focus
Each year, horse racing fans from around the world put on their fanciest outfits for the Dubai World Cup. For those fans that have never associated fashion with horse racing; you have gotten it all wrong. In fact, videos from the fashion part of this event are extremely entertaining because almost everything associated with style at the Dubai World Cup has a focus on being unique—and that often translates as bizarre.
How to become a souvenir at the Dubai World Cup
When covering the style of the Dubai World Cup at the Meydan Racecourse, fashion watchers go overboard. One woman stalks outside of the Ahlan Studio in 2010 and took 1200 pictures in one afternoon of people standing in line. At Ahlan Studios, attendants of the racecourse are doing something strange. Mainly, they have their pictures taken by a professional photographer to commemorate the event, their expensive duds, and to be included in the souvenir guide given out on race day.
Dubai World Cup fashion race reality
Keep in mind that attendants of this horse race are actually judged on what they wear. During the week of the Dubai World Cup, prizes are given out to the most fashionable. This event is called the Dubai World Cup Style Stakes. In 2009, the grand prizes totaled $24,000. Since then, the winners have been spoiled by receiving automobiles as their booty.
Categories in the past have been Best Dressed Lady, Best Hat, and Best Dressed Couple. Since 2011, they decided a fashion show without men was weird and added a new category for Best Dressed Man.
Oddly shared Style Stakes sponsorship
In 2010, Land Rover sponsored the Style Stakes at the Dubai World Cup and this was followed by sharing this event with Jaguar the next year. There is nothing weird going on with the sponsorship except the fact that they placed over 50 Land Rovers all over the track in 2011—but only a few Jaguars.
Weird is the key to the Style Stakes
Judges for the 2009 competition looked for elegance, effort, coordination, posture, and confidence. However, in 2009, individuality seemed to be the key. Over the years, the focus of judges has remained on the contestant that stands out from the crowd. One of the judges for the 2011 Dubai World Cup Style Stakes was personal stylist Kelly Lundberg. Lundberg states that she was really looking for, "something different, something wild, something we have not seen before … something a bit more funky."
This is backed up by Kelly Gibson who says, "I am looking for elegance, poise, sophistication, .. and that what they are wearing actually matches their personality and matches what they feel about themselves."
Weirdest hats in horse racing
Lundberg had a lot of insight to the reasons why fashion at the Dubai World Cup always seems to have an exclamation point associated with it. In her opinion, "I think because the races here go from afternoon to late evening, there is more flexibility, more bling … less conservative than maybe you would find at the Melbourne Cup or the Royal Ascot." Lundberg also focuses on the hats saying that she selects for, "the shape, the textures of the fabric used, and the detailing."
While most of the videos for Dubai World Cup hats are a bit of a downer, Zoe Harri captures the weird hat aspect well. For the 2011 Style Stakes, Harri's immediate focus is on bizarre hats—especially since she is wearing one herself. Whether or not anyone intended it, 2011's event could be called "The Year of the Exploding Feather Hats."
2012 Dubai World Cup Fashion continues weirdness
The Dubai Meydan Racecourse released a video to gear everyone up for the 2012 Style Stakes event. Near the track at Oasis Fashion, owner Angela Walton says that you can show up with a dress and they will make a hat for you from scratch. Regardless, Walton's genius is matching dresses and hats and she says that, "brights and animal prints are very in this year."
Do you think that hats at the Dubai World Cup and the Kentucky Derby have grown odder over the years? Supporting the idea that hat trends are getting stranger every year, Walton says that she has watched people move from small hat fascinators to the enormous ones that extend beyond the shoulders. Walton also points out that these strange hats are not called, "a big flying saucer hat." Instead, they are referred to as "big fascinators."
Is it a purse or a horse feed bag?
One final bizarre trend from Walton is that many attendants have started purchasing extra large matching handbags in order to carry their shoes. Naturally, a bag to carry your shoes will be great in case they make the Style Stakes winner take an honorary gallop around the Meydan track in the future.
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Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.
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