13 November 1957 ~ The Australian Woman’s Weekly uses the headline “In the Fashion Field for Flemington” to describe the beautiful fashion on display at the course during the Carnival. Over the next few years, the terms ‘field’ and ‘fashion’ become popular language to describe fashionable forays at Flemington during the Carnival.
1962, where it all began …
The Victoria Racing Club’s (VRC) Fashions on the Field competition was instigated in 1962, following initiatives implemented by the VRC Public Relation and Promotion sub-committee in 1960 to promote the Centenary Cup. The contest itself was devised in July 1962 and formed part of the Club’s ‘Fashions, Flowers and Favourites’ promotion to ‘woo more women to the races’.
The competition was launched with the object of ‘finding the smartest dressed women at the Carnival within economic restraints’ and would-be entrants were enticed with a generous prize pool of goods and cash to the value of almost £7000. There were initially three categories for ladies’ – one for those whose outfits had cost £30 and under, one for those worth £50 and over and a category for Most Elegant Hat. Each section winner was awarded a prize. The grand prize was a Ford Falcon Futura motor car valued at £1450.
Fashions on the Field quickly captured the imagination of the public. It was covered extensively in the press and grew rapidly in popularity. Little did the VRC organising committee realise at the time that its new marketing initiative would change the nature of racing forever.
Borrowing a hat, and money for an outfit, 18 year old Margaret Wood entered the inaugural Fashions on the Field competition in 1962. She won a new Ford Falcon Futura motor car valued at £1450 and a Cyclax beauty case valued at £50.
1962 Fashions On The Field Category Winners; Margaret Wood, Janette Forsyth and Thais Muir