I was recently invited to attend the iconic Investec Epsom Derby in Surrey, England. The Epsom Derby is the richest and most prestigious horse-race of the five Classics, and was inaugurated in 1780. The word derby originated here, named after the 12th Earl of Derby. It’s the longest flat-race in the world at 1 mile, 10 furlongs and 4 yards, and an event you need to experience in your lifetime. 250 000 people descend upon the track (both the right and wrong sides of it) over two days in June for this prestigious event. The Friday is Ladies Day and is all about fashion, the Saturday is Derby Day and also the day of the Investec Derby race in which the queen hands over the prize to the winner. I managed to get within a few meters of her majesty in the Winner’s Circle and it was a pretty amazing moment to behold, the awe within the crowd was palpable. This year Harzand crossed the finish line first, ridden by Pat Smullen. I’m still furious with myself for not betting on this colt; I had a feeling about him.
I decided to dust off ye olde haberdashery box and make my hat for the occasion; a decision I regretted almost immediately but now that it’s all over I’m so glad I did. I wanted something different (if you want to exercise your fashion creativity the races is the perfect place to do it) and dramatic, an over-sized gothic flower-crown, if you will. I bought myself some fake flowers from MRP Home, sprayed them black, pulled off the stalks and sewed them onto an Alice band I’d padded with felt. I sewed some beads and sequins onto a few of the flower petals for depth. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it and received some great compliments on the day. My outfit is from the H&M Conscious Exclusive range; I fell in love with this skirt when the range launched in Cape Town recently and just had to wear it. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to wear long skirts or dresses to the races, but frankly I don’t give a f-urlong. What you can’t see are my running leggings I wore beneath it to keep me warm on this freezing UK Summer’s day. I also wore my dainty new Daniel Wellington watch; it’s the 26mm Classy Sheffield in rose gold.
One of my favourite parts of the experience was walking the course first thing in the morning on Derby Day. The course was eerily quiet and draped in fog. It was hard to imagine the chaos that would descend upon the calm 7 hours later. Here’s a look at the Investec Epsom Derby in pictures…