5 Trends to Shape Your Spring Racing Carnival Style

Spring Racing Carnival Trends 2018

Look to the runways for this year’s hottest spring carnival fashion ideas.

The spring racing carnival is a fashion event unto itself but it’s even better when your look dovetails nicely with the latest ideas from the international runways. Happily, this is the case for the 2018 season, with some of the biggest trends making an easy translation to spring carnival style. From high-wattage brights to the prettiest florals and the millinery trend that’s taking the fashion world by storm, here are the ideas to know when planning what to wear to the races.

A rainbow of brights

Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2018; Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2018; Valentino Spring/Summer 2018

It’s official: after seasons of tasteful neutrals, bold, crayon-bright colour is back on the fashion radar, gleefully lighting up runways at Balenciaga, Valentino, Stella McCartney and more. Plus, there’s an entire paintbox of options to choose from. “No colour is off-limits,” confirms Cheryl Centen, David Jones Buyer for Women’s Designer. “Pop yellow, electric blue and hot pink are the standouts.”

As for how to wear it? “It’s got to be with a clash!” says Rachel McRae, David Jones Buyer for Young Fashion and Contemporary Designer. “Think pink and orange, or blue with yellows. I’m so excited to see those unexpected combos that make the racing season so fab.”


Spring racing dresses for 2018

Shona Joy dress; Manning Cartell dress.

Spring racing dresses for 2018

Aje dress; By Johnny dress.

All the pretty pastels

Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2018; Ellery Spring/Summer 2018; Valentino Spring/Summer 2018

The counterpoint to bold brights is, of course, a plethora of sorbet shades that reveal the softer side of spring. Blush pink’s popularity is showing no signs of abating – as evidenced by the romantic confections at Valentino – while powder blue, mint and lilac are equally appealing.

Buyer Cheryl Centen also recommends pastels as a trend that will reach all the way into the new year. “A pastel colour palette and cosmetic pinks are great for any key racing event, including Oaks Day or Caulfield Cup, and they can be worn again for your upcoming Christmas or New Year’s Eve events.”


Spring racing dresses for 2018

Thurley dress; By Johnny dress.  

Spring racing dresses for 2018

Sndys dressRebecca Vallance dress.

A garden of florals

McQueen Spring/Summer 2018; Valentino Spring/Summer 2018; Erdem Spring/Summer 2018

Florals for spring may not be groundbreaking, but they’re undeniably right in step this season. What makes them different this year is the sheer variety on offer – this isn’t the time for garden-variety prints. From full-blown blooms at McQueen, to Valentino's painterly prints, playing with scale will help put your stamp on the trend. And while traditional pastel shades abound, a new darker take on florals is also creeping in.

In a more-is-more spin on the trend, florals are often paired with other details – Jessie Ferguson, David Jones Buyer for Women’s Youth and Active, suggests combining large-scale florals with textured fabrics or frilled details around the hemline or neck.


Spring racing dresses for 2018

Alice McCall dressCamilla and Marc dress; Lover dress.

The suit that spells power

Self Portrait Spring/Summer 2018; Dion Lee Spring/Summer 2018; Zimmermann Spring/Summer 2018

For a strong alternative to all those beautiful dresses, look no further than the suit. Banish thoughts of a corporate wardrobe – the suits on the runway were beautifully tailored with striking details, such as the cut-outs at Dion Lee or the flamboyant prints at Zimmermann.

“I love seeing a woman in a suit,” agrees David Jones in-store stylist Amy Taip. “It’s so super traditional and powerful. She looks like she means business.”

And after race-day, “the blazer can be worn to work or over denim for a fresh summer update to your basic black or navy staple,” suggests buyer Jessie Ferguson. “While the pant can be worn back with trainers and a tee for a casual weekend look.”  


Spring racing suits for 2018

Bec & Bridge blazer; Viktoria & Woods blazer.

Spring racing suits for 2018

Viktoria & Woods trousers; Bec & Bridge trousers.

The wide-brimmed hat

Jacquemus Spring/Summer 2018; Missoni Spring/Summer 2018; Gucci Spring/Summer 2018

Millinery is having a bonafide fashion moment, with ultra-wide-brimmed hats making an entrance at Jacquemus and Gucci. Sun protection has never looked so chic! “If there is any time to go big or go home, it would be now!” says Liz Ormando, Buyer for Handbags and Accessories. ;“If you’re going to wear an oversized hat it will be the statement of your outfit, which is best paired with a modest outfit. I’m really loving the wide brim with a soft tailored suit.”

If you’re unsure about making such a bold statement, stylist Amy Taip has a word of advice: “Right now you may feel that it’s over-the-top, but I promise once you get to the races and everyone around you is wearing hats and colour, you’ll feel fine.”


Spring racing hats for 2018

Sylvy Earl boater; Fiona Powell fedora; Sarah J Curtis boater.

Discover all the trends in the Spring Racing womenswear edit