This year marked the last Dubai World Cup to be held at Nad Al Sheba racecourse. There were fewer tickets on sale for the event this year as construction made way for the new iconic Meydan racecourse to host next year's event. The smaller crowd enabled a congestion free event.
Despite the reduction in attendees, the registrations at the Style Stakes competition were at record levels with more than 250 entrants in the best dressed woman segment and 83 partners for the best dressed couple. Unseasonal rain threatened to interfere with the Style Stakes fashion competition sponsored by BurJuman, but, apart from a brief shower before the commencement of the fashion heats, the parade of elegant and flamboyant fashions proceeded without a hitch. A prerequisite to entering the Style Stakes competition was to be wearing some form of headwear. So hat lovers had a great spectacle!
Entrants who did their research would have taken note from the Dubai World Cup website, which warned that evening gowns were not de rigueur this year, if you wanted to be in the running for the best dressed woman. Previous years have seen the unusual combination of evening gown with hat!
The absence of novelty fashions was noted this year. No miniature race tracks on heads, sinamay horses heads or aspiring designers trying to attract the limelight with theatrical abandon! Pastel colours were out. Bold electric blue, emerald green, fushia pink, white and black, purple and yellow were the themes for this season. Plain fabrics providing bold blocks of colour dotted the lawns of the "Apron Views" fashion arena.
The panel of four judges included milliner Phillip Wright, from Walter Wright's in the United Kingdom, and Dubai stylist Kelly Lundberg. The winner of the best hat, Lisa Balsam, could have easily won the best dressed woman! She looked fabulous wearing a cream, pink and black frock and coat with a hat made for the outfit by Australian milliner Karen Hamilton. The hat, a 3 tiered elongated coolie, was trimmed with 3 bows, ostrich spines and pearls.
Olivia Hague, the winner of the best dressed woman award, wore an elegant fitted dusty lilac dress, with matching sinamay hat from Walter Wright. The soft sculpted hat was trimmed with a white and red tipped feather flower. The runner up place for best dressed woman wore a blue dress with a broad brimmed Phillip Treacy hat of white sinamay trimmed with luscious flowers.
The best dressed couple was awarded to a striking black and white ensemble. Abi Ferreira wore a simple fitted elegant white dress with a beautifully perched black and white headpiece made by Samantha Vause. Abi's partner complimented her look with a black and white striped tie worn with a dark suit and white shirt.