Yesterday was the first day of Royal Ascot, and never one to pass up on an opportunity to whack on a hat and scoff scones, we put on our finest headgear and headed down to the racecourse for a day of serious hat spotting. Forget the horses, our sport for the day was people watching and we charged ahead as soon as the grand gates opened at 10.30am.
Ascot was frightfully proper this year, with most of the attendees adhering to the strict dress code. We didn't spot one fashion policewoman called out on a fashion 999 call. When we arrived at the Royal Enclosure we passed a neon-tastic Katherine Jenkins who was dashing in stilettos to get to the lunch and champers awaiting her at her box, but she had time to tell us that she was wearing a Roksanda dress with a matching Philip Treacy creation on her head. Katherine lead the fashion race, as Roksanda was THE designer at Ascot, as we spotted FIVE of her fluro looks while frock hunting.
Katherine Jenkins in Roksanda and Philip Treacy
Before picking out our headgear we spoke to Amber Le Bon to find out her Ascot style tips and she said: 'The whole point of Ascot is to get dressed up. It’s all about being a little opulent, wearing a fabulous dress or trouser suit, but being appropriate. So stick to the dress code and wear a fabulous hat – go all out.' And go all out they did.
Monochrome is big at Ascot this year, with Chanelegant suits (some the real deal, some high street imitations) and sophisticated black and white hats. 'Matchy matchy' was the Ascot buzzword, with many racegoers wearing hats in the same hue as their dress. Taking style tips from the Queen perhaps? We also spied Erdem florals, delicious Laduree pastels and more Chanel 2.55 bags than are displayed in the flagship store. The Royal Enclosure is a fashion sweet shop.
Trend alert! Monochrome, matchy matchy and Laduree pastels
Florals were taken to the next level this year, as a few brave racegoers decided to cultivate their OWN Ascot garden. Florence Claridge from Dover wore a fuschia plant instead of a hat and we spotted Isabell Kristensen with a single giant rose on top of her head. It may look like it could fly onto the racetrack and knock out a horse or ten, but Isabell told us it was surprisingly light and secure.
Florals were big (literally) at Ascot
From the genteel to the guests on a serious mission to get hat-papped - the award for the most, erm, striking headgear goes to the lady sporting a blue disk with a silver fish and giant feathers flying off it. The mad hatter award goes to the girl hiding under a pink, Dr Seuss construction with a 'hats, hats, hats' sign jutting off the side.
The champagne bars emptied out at 2pm, when everyone rushed to see what colour hat the Queen was wearing as she made her way down the racecourse in a horse-drawn carriage. The Queenie wore... pastel pink. The procession also included Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie who arrived with their father, the Duke of York, wearing monochrome and statement hats (obvs).
Grazia Daily's Emma at Royal Ascot
After the royal procession and an hour or two spent trying to decipher how betting odds actually work, we settled down to a spot of afternoon tea Ascot style. Ascot makes Wimbledon look bland, with strawberries, fruit tarts, scones and delicate sarnies. The races are terribly British with waving union jack flags, trays of cucumber sandwiches and the chance to spot a real life Royal - Princess Anne popped into the next door box.
Ascot is a place where it is acceptable to drink champagne at 11am on a Tuesday. Here the bubbles are on tap as Ascot has it's very own Moet tree house, with magnums propped up on podiums. Only at Ascot!