They call it the sport of kings but this year the racetrack will be overrun with queens and princesses as crown and tiara-inspired headpieces turn up as the biggest headwear trend of the season.
Fashion experts are dubbing the crown the biggest headwear trend since the fascinator turned up en masse at the track in the early 2000s.
Like the feathered fascinator, whose popularity was driven by younger racegoers who preferred the more wearable headwear to skyscraper styles complete with poke-an-eye-out embellishments, the crown is equally user-friendly.
Melbourne milliner Natalie Bikicki says crown-inspired headpieces will be one of the most popular looks at the races over the coming weeks.
“It’s a very, very popular trend because it is so wearable,” says Ms Bikicki whose ready-to-wear and custom headpieces sell for between $400 and $1200. “It’s small and petite and it is limitless in terms of what you can wear it with.”
“It’s also very on trend. So a lot of the ladies have been requesting crowns especially after seeing them on the catwalks of the big international designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Elie Saab.”
Although more literal interpretations of crowns and tiaras will turn up at the track in gold, silver and embellished with crystals, Ms Bikicki likes to take a more “subversive” approach to the crown – fashioning hers from leather, latex and PVC.
“I like my crowns to be a little less traditional and I achieve that by working with more unusual materials.”
Sydney milliner Viktoria Novak’s trackside crowns on the other hand look as if they have been plucked straight from the head of a “Roman or Greek empress”.
“Every second person we see at the moment wants a crown,” says Ms Novak. “They’re everywhere. They will definitely be dominating the racetrack this season.”
Ms Novak says she started creating her signature gold, silver and brass crowns for her bridal clients in 2013. But she says when TV presenter Sonia Kruger wore one of her crowns to the Golden Slipper last year it sparked one of the biggest racewear trends in recent history.
“Last year there was a little bit of demand for them but this year it’s just gone crazy. I think people are over the fascinator and flowers. And the other thing is, crowns can be worn over and over again and with so many different outfits.
“We focus on metal crowns in gold and silver and rose gold, which we consider to be quite neutral colours so they really can be worn with anything.”
Whereas Ms Novak’s crowns retail for between $300 and $3000, more affordable interpretations are turning up on the high street in stores such as Mimco, Asos and Target for as little as $30.
ASOS’ womenswear head of design, Aisling McKeffry, said its metal filigree leaf crown and floral hair garlands, which sell for between $40 and $60, have been their biggest sellers of headwear this racing season.
Ms McKeffry said the popularity of crowns and tiaras can be attributed directly back to the Spring/Summer 2016 fashion shows.
“Tiaras were seen on the SS16 catwalks at the likes of YSL, while Moncler used floral garlands throughout.”
In terms of trends, she says “clean metal feels newest” right now.
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