Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Cheltenham fashion fillies have many hurdles to cross before they get it all right

Ladies Day at Cheltenham
Ladies Day at Cheltenham
Stephanie King from Newmarket attends Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Racegoer Pauline Ayivi poses for a photograph as she arrives for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened yesterday and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: A race goer poses for a photograph as she arrives for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened yesterday and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Camilla Bassett-Smith poses for a photograph as she arrives for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Racegoer Geraldine Murphy poses for a photograph as she arrives for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Racegoer Fawn Beddows poses for a photograph as she arrives for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Female racegoers pose for a photograph as they arrive for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Racegoers (L-R) Fawn Beddows, Katie Morley, Fay Watson and Ashley Rees pose for a photograph as they arrive for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: A female racegoers' shoes are seen as they arrive for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Racegoer Sarah Judge poses for a photograph as she arrives for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Women race goers pose for a photograph as they arrive for Ladies Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 on March 13, 2013 in Cheltenham, England. Approximately 200,000 racing enthusiasts are expected at the four-day festival, which opened today and is seen by many as the highlight of the jump racing calendar. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Lystra Adams from Staffordshire arrives during Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Lystra Adams from Staffordshire arrives during Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Sarah Judge from Sligo attends Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Lystra Adams from Staffordshire attends Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Georgie Turner (left) from Cheltenham and Geraldine Murphy from Cork attend Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Lisa Chapple from Surrey attends Ladies Day at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Ladies shoe fashions during Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 13, 2013. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

The well-bred fillies were out in force yesterday at day two of Cheltenham Races.

In what has become one of the most illustrious days in the fashion stakes – second only to Royal Ascot – Cheltenham Ladies Day always attracts the upper echelons of society.

There was just one slight problem, though; the unseasonably sub-zero weather and freezing bitter wind, which played havoc with so many outfits and resulted in a lot of very confused and confusing looks.

Keen horsewoman Princess Anne was there, of course, with her equestrienne daughter Zara Tindall. Both were wrapped up warmly in woollen military-style coats with appropriately sturdy boots. While the Princess Royal looked her usual sombre self in chocolate brown, Zara was zingy in a brilliant red Russian-inspired design by the Irish designer Paul Costelloe. The only problem was the hat: a miniature pillbox with a wilted peacock feather swirled around it and worn at a jaunty angle. If only she had worn her mum's Cossack hat it would have been the perfect combination.

Earlier in the week, Zara had accompanied her 'bestie', Chanelle McCoy, to the races. Chanelle, wife of the Northern Irish Champion Jockey Tony, often appears alongside her Royal Highness as their husbands are best mates. Once again, both wore fabulous coats but missed the mark with mis-matching millinery, choosing flimsy fascinators to complete their look.

When will they ever learn that plonking a dainty flower arrangement on your head is just wrong and daft in wintry weather? Elsewhere, another trend was re-emerging as a result of the arctic conditions. After decades of being non-PC and utterly unacceptable, real fur made an ominous comeback amongst these ladies of a certain class and status.

Indeed, it was no coincidence that so many were pictured in animal pelts, as organisers of the event had actually invited fur retailers to set up stalls selling beaver hats, and mink coats.

As an animal lover, I was appalled at this backwards step. With so many fabulous fakes readily available, there really is no need to wear the real thing, no matter how cold it might be.

But then, horse racing is arguably a horribly cruel sport, so I suppose it just goes with the territory. As Belfast Fashionweek approaches, that is certainly one trend I won't be following, thank you very much.

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