In Liverpool, it’s the event of the year: the dresses, the drinking, the disasters… oh, and a bit of horse racing thrown in the mix too. Aintree is at the city’s heart – and it’s a big deal. So much so, that this year saw luxury giant Harvey Nichols open a three-storey Beauty Bazaar in the centre (as well as an SOS tent at the racecourse) and record attendance over the three-day event itself. This year, I was lucky enough to be one of those attendees. It was my first time – and at first, it was terrifying.
But, with the help of four Liverpool beauts – Helen Tweed, Rachel Kenny, Becky Dolman, all 28, and Joanne Thomas, 30 (all above) – by the end of my stay, I sort of got the hang of it. For the full low-down, grab yourself a copy of this week’s mag. In the meantime, here are 5 things I learned along the way…
1) It’s OK to wear long-johns under your maxi... But never a coat.
Aintree. Is. Freezing. But northern girls have got that covered. I didn’t see a single coat for the entire time I was there – rumour has it that the girls cut up thermals to fit snugly under their dresses. In extreme cases, recruit the help of stick on heat pads usually used for pain relief. Everyone else? They just brave it out... Or get a blanket.
2) Spray tans.
There are 300 tanning outlets in Liverpool, and 35 per cent more fake tan is sold in the city than anywhere else in the UK. You do the math.
3) It's all about the Hatinator.
… The headwear child of the hat and the fascinator. Basically, a super stylish hat on a headband. And bespoke is the only way to go. Milliner Rosie Olivia will create the hat to end all hats to perfectly match your outfit.
4) In Liverpool, it is not acceptable to wear pyjamas for a 5am fire alarm.
A lesson I learned quickly when I evacuated my hotel room on hearing the alarm to find that, out of 300 residents, myself and an eight-year-old girl (clutching a giant rabbit teddy) were the only ones in our PJs. In Liverpool, being dressed to your best is required in ALL circumstances.
5) Personal shopping appointments are essential, natch.
But book early. Cricket, Liverpool’s leading fashion boutique are the always ahead of the curve when it comes to Aintree - but appointments are snapped up as early as December. This year, coveted looks included the patterned suit, monochrome and jumpsuits. (And their treasure trove of designer items is well worth a look, even if you’re not off to the races…)