The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival has always been synonymous with the fashion of the times and presented a distinctive social gathering. This became a social calendar event to be seen and to see. In 1861 a lady of fine standing would be presented in a day dress with long trains, bustles, flounces and ruching, bodice, hat, gloves, parasol and of course a chaperone. Styles have changed but the hat has endured, it shrunk it grew and morphed briefly into the fascinator and of late has recast itself as milliner objet d’art.
As the oldest horse race in South Africa, the Queen’s Plate provides a microcosm to view the dynamic changes in fashion from its inception to its contemporary incarnation. Since the very first race run in 1861 the fashion Standard was set by Queen Victoria, whose influence was such that when she wore a white wedding dress to marry Prince Albert in 1840, sparked a tradition that is still followed around the world today.
According to Ascot Racecourse, the organizing body behind Royal Ascot, the fashion-forward Queen created a trend for “porter bonnets”, a headpiece that shielded the face from observers, when she wore one to Ascot races in the 1830s. What the queen wore abroad was imitated very closely at the Queen’s Plate and the porter bonnet made a brief appearance.
As a racing festival with a rich heritage and its own identity, leaping into the future, its emphasis is elegance. The Queen’s Plate is the singular equestrian event that subscribes to a smart dress code with its now-iconic Blue and White attire. For the LQP Best Dressed (Lady and Gentleman) and Best Hat (Lady) competition, only ladies and gentlemen who are appropriately dressed will be eligible. The Best Dressed Lady, to be awarded on a Saturday, will win a “trip for two to London, England to attend the Qatar Glorious Goodwood Racing Festival on Friday, 31st July 2020. The prize includes two premium economy flights, airport transfers, accommodation for five nights in London, tickets to attend the L’Ormarins Luncheon at the Qatar Glorious Goodwood.” Other category winners will win prizes by world-renowned Jeweler and accessory house, Cartier and L’Ormarins Brut.
As one of the most stylish events on the South African calendar reaching international iconic status, the LQP Racing Festival presents the height of style and in its own sophisticated way, continues to celebrate the evolution of fashion.