Style Awards: Meet Newmarket’s Autumn best dressed

The Style Awards returned to Newmarket’s Dubai Future Champions Festival yesterday and the fashion going was good, as media partner Velvet reports

Autumn Style Awards 2021 - Credit Mark Westley (52075768)
Autumn Style Awards 2021 - Credit Mark Westley (52075768)

Felt, faux fur, feathers and florals were all trending yesterday when the Autumn Style Awards returned to Newmarket’s Rowley Mile. Taking place on day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival - live and in person after last year’s Covid hiatus - the best dressed competition saw racegoers raise the fashion stakes says Velvet’s Alice Ryan, who judged the contest with milliner Ana Pribylova of London’s Ana Bella Millinery.

“We were really impressed with some of the outfits we saw. Entrants had really paid attention to current trends, with jewel tones, floral prints, soft tailoring and pleating all featuring, and they’d also paid great attention to detail, making sure every element of the outfit, from hat right down to heels, worked perfectly.

“There’s a different feel to autumn dressing, compared to summer, and even though we were lucky enough to have a mild and dry day, the classic elements of an autumn racing outfit were all there too: felt and fabric hats, as opposed to straw; sleeved rather than sleeveless dresses; pumps and boots instead of sandals.”

Open to all racegoers for the first time, having been a ladies-only event in the past, gentlemen got suited and booted to take part, too, adds Alice: “We saw some very smart tailoring, with three-piece suits still very popular, particularly in tweeds and dogtooth prints.”

Autumn Style Awards 2021 - Credit Mark Westley (52075767)
Autumn Style Awards 2021 - Credit Mark Westley (52075767)

The top 10 each took home a Velvet goodie bag, featuring gifts from some of the magazine’s favourite local brands: handmade chocolate from Cambridge’s Chocolat Chocolat; home fragrance from Suffolk’s Cosy Aromas; tipples from Roundwood Gin, Huntingdon; coffee with conscience from Cambridge’s Kickstart Coffee; homemade confectionery from The Fudge Can, St Neots; handmade silk accessories from Silk Jasmine, Cambridge; perfume and cologne from Cambridge’s Penhaligon’s store; jewellery from Illumi Jewel, St Neots; plus a few little extras from Velvet.

The top three won hundreds of pounds in prizes, with an overnight stay at a Chestnut group property, a Fairfax & Favor Windsor leather handbag, a £350 Hobbs gift card, a Hotel Chocolat hamper, a jeroboam of Moet & Chandon, a bouquet from Barton’s Manor Florist and a bespoke headpiece from Ana Bella Millinery all in the winner’s bundle.

“More than anything, it was great to see so many racegoers dressing up and joining in,” adds Alice. “People had made so much effort with their outfits and were really embracing the sense of occasion. If you’re tempted to enter next time, do it! It all adds to a great day out.”

First Place: Georgie Shevki, milliner, Snailwell

“I’m over the moon to have won! I’ve been the bridesmaid many times - I’ve been in the top 10 for the Style Awards and also came second in the Best Hat category a couple of Julys ago - so to finally be the bride is brilliant.

“My outfit started with the hat - of course, being a milliner. We’ve had this felt and feather design at Le Chapeau for a little while and I loved the camel and the green in the feathers, so I took that palette as the basis. I picked up the green with this Coast dress and the camel with the accessories; the faux fur stole is Dune, the shoes are Dorothy Perkins and the clutch is Mulberry.

“I started making hats after a friend, Wendy, made one for my mum and I just loved it, so I asked if she’d teach me. I’d studied textiles previously; I’ve always been creative. The result is Le Chapeau, our millinery company which is based at my home. We do mostly bespoke work - mothers of the bride, for example, bring us their outfit and we’ll create a design and colour match it.

“I’ve always loved racing. My dad and husband own Newmarket Racing Club; our family is Newmarket through and through. I’d encourage anyone to get dressed up and enter the Style Awards. Let’s be honest: what have you got to lose? It’s just a lovely day out.”

Second Place: Emma Taylor, pharmacy manager, Soham

“I’m so pleased to have come second! I was in the top 10 in the summer, so to make the top three now is lovely. My best friend and I always get dressed up for the Style Awards; it’s just a great day out, isn’t it?

“This outfit started with the Ted Baker cape. It was actually my mum’s and she was going to sell it on Facebook for £20! I said ‘No way, I’ll have it’, then built the outfit around it. The hat was from a game fair, the scarf I ordered last minute from Amazon, the top’s Zara, the trousers are actually Tesco and the shoes are from Dune - they’re eight years old and I still love them.”

Third Place: Aidan Jones, student, from London

“I feel amazing, honestly: I had a winner in the second race and now I’ve come top three in the best dressed competition! I’m hoping it’s a good omen. We decided to stop off here for the day on the way from London to Doncaster, as I’ve got an interview at the National Horseracing College tomorrow. The ambition is to work in stables or as an exercise rider. I got the bug when we started going to the races - we’ve been to Ascot, loads of courses. So wish me luck!

“My outfit is all about the suit. It’s from Next and I’ve had it a while; any excuse to wear it and I’ll take it. I like the pattern and the fact it’s a three-piece. I’d encourage any guys coming to the races to enter the Style Awards: it’s good fun and you never know, you might win.”

Read more

More by this author