The Qatar Goodwood festival is a week long festival in the countryside of England during the last week of September.
It is one of the most picturesque courses in the world, set right at the top of the Sussex Downs, visitors can see for miles into the distance before the horses come bounding past.
The racecourse is an hour and half train ride from London, ending at Chichester station, and then a short coach transfer will get you to the lush racetrack. It's definitely a beautiful racetrack worth a visit, surrounded by rolling hills, with different marquees on offer for fine dining, to jazz in the gardens and food stalls.
It's a more relaxed country racing atmosphere, but you can still dress to impress and dare to wear your most eccentric hat if you like.
The Racecourse is home to some really great events during the Summer time, such as the Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival and also the Qatar Goodwood Festival- which is the one I am referring to in my blog-it's a horse racing event. Click on the links to get you through to the website and pages of the official Goodwood festival for information on the other events.
These flagship events represent different aspects of horse and car racing, as well as some great chances for ladies to get glammed up, either in vintage, or raceday fashion. If you are a vintage fashion lover, then Goodwood Revival is for you, and they hold a vintage best dressed competition that is just spectacular to watch.
Click on the Revival link above for more information about that event.
GoodWood Qatar Best Dressed Competition
I attended on Friday when the "best dressed" competition is held during the Qatar Goodwood Festival. This is the third year the racetrack has held the prestigious best dressed competition sponsored by L'Ormarins. The prize is a trip of a lifetime to the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate in South Africa. L'Ormarins logo is predominantly a sky blue and white logo, thus calling for entrants to wear and incorporate blue and white in their outfits for the day.
The prize itself is reason enough to be involved in the fashion style awards, as well as the fact that it is just a stunning country racetrack to visit. Following are some photos of my outfit courtesy of the Telegraph.
Ana wearing dress by Chi Chi clothing, Ana Bella Millinery with hand dyed and made feather flowers to match, handbag and shoes from Myer Australia.
Photograph courtesy of "The Telegraph"
I wear all my own millinery to all hatty occasions, which I make in the days leading up to the events, hand dying and cutting feathers in my studio. I find I always have to make it a few days before, otherwise, I keep changing my mind... and have too many options! For Goodwood the planning happened a few months ahead, I bought the dress first, and made the hat second...
Ladies come from afar to attend the ladies day competition at GoodWood Festival.
How does the Best Dressed competition work at Goodwood?
There is a difference between UK fashions on the field competitions and others I have attended internationally like Dubai, Ireland and Australia. In the UK, you have to wait for a phone call from the judges (let's hope you have signal at a large event!) to see if you are a finalist, mostly at the end of the day, and only a handful of finalists will line the parade ring. It's quite nerve racking sitting next to your phone to see if it will ring with your friends.... Finalists are picked from photos that are taken earlier, and also by the fashion stylists walking around by a panel of judges that are put together by the race track. So- best you are seen, and don't hide yourself away and also work on your best photoface :)....
I arrived at the racetrack at about 12 pm, midday, and walked around the beautiful racetrack, surrounded by rolling hillside and trees. I brought my flats with me, and changed to heels before I went in, as I knew country racing can mean vast distances!
If you had done your research of past winners at Goodwood Festival, you would know that the best dressed competition is sponsored by L'Ormarins, and the brief was to incorporate blue and white into your outfits, that means everything, from shoes, handbag to millinery needs to have some sort of blue and white theme. So as you can see, the day was filled with photos of ladies in tones of blue. it was very pretty to have most ladies dressed in the same tone.
There are two main entrances, the west entrance is where the Best Dressed style spotters were this year to add your name to the list, and also get a photo taken for the judges to peruse. After your name is written down with a contact phone number, and if you are selected as a finalist you receive a phone call between 3-4pm, at the end of the day, where you are asked to go into the parade ring, where a winner will be selected from about 9-10 finalists who made the fashionista cut.
So after you sign your name up on the fashionista list, you wait until the end of the day to find out! Fingers crossed! I spent the rest of my time with friends and catching up with milliners who were coming from far away. I often don't see milliners until we get together at events like these.
During the day, I walked around and enjoyed all sorts of fashion and millinery , from very casual hats and wide brims, large adorned sinnamay base hat-tinators that were worn to the one side (a UK favourite) to feather hats and small fascinators. I actually didn't see many percher style hats, they are not really "in" in the UK. I saw maybe two eccentric style hats -which by country racing standards were out there- but compared with Royal Ascot- quite tame! It was so nice to see that most women and men were wearing hats.
The day definitely sparked all sorts of colors of blue, ranging from light blue, to cobalt blue. It was mainly the light sky blue and blueish grey that was seen in the line up for the best dressed finalists.
The finalist Best Dressed Line up at best Dressed Goodwood 2016
Sarah Weston winner of the Best Dressed Competition
Race attendee with impressive large hat in tones of beautiful blues
At about 4.30pm, between horse races, after receiving the phone call that they had been picked as a finalist, the finalists made their way to the parade ring. The line up was filled with shades of light blues, matching headwear and handbags, larger brimmed hats and some smaller hats were seen.
As the event unfolded, a final three were chosen, and then narrowed down to Sarah Weston, who took out the winning prize this year. Sarah wore a floral dress with pointy shoes and large brimmed hat, all in a lovely tone of light blue.
Thank you to Goodwood racetrack for hosting the event, letting ladies flaunt their amazing outfits....and the weather gods for not raining on our parade this year!
If you are visiting the UK, I would definitely hope you can make it out to Goodwood, it's such a nice Country Raceday.
Check the website for more details of each flagship event, personally I'd love to attend Revival.... for the vintage fashion that I love.... but let's see.... I have so many millinery orders to make for the Melbourne Cup it just might not be possible! back to the studio for me........