Fashion comes first at Royal Ascot Ladies' Day

Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:56am EDT
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By Paul Majendie

ASCOT, England (Reuters Life!) - Jockey Frankie Dettori has no doubts-- Ladies Day at Royal Ascot is a world beater for dedicated followers of fashion.

Sporting top hat and tails with a pink rose in his buttonhole, the ebullient Italian argued that when it came to elegant racing it was no contest. Ascot beat the Kentucky Derby and Arc day in Paris every time.

"Absolutely. At Royal Ascot we have had 300 years of practice," he told Reuters, reveling in the fashion extravaganza as women paraded in their finest for Ascot Gold Cup day. For Dettori this is "the Olympics of racing."

Fashion designer Jeff Banks, resplendent in purple waistcoat, agreed.

"What I love about British fashion is its witticism. In France they take themselves far too seriously and in Kentucky it is all about the money -- how much did you spend on that."

Admiring all the finery and fascinators around him, Banks said: "I've been designing for 46 years and I never get tired of it."

Royal Ascot, immortalized by flower girl Eliza Dolittle in the musical "My Fair Lady," is the High Society highlight of an exhausting summer season that stretches from the Chelsea Flower Show to Wimbledon and the Henley Royal Regatta.

For party-going poseurs, it is all about cutting a dash, seizing a brief moment of fashion fame as paparazzi prowl the track in search of the outlandish.   Continued...

<p>A racegoer poses in her hat on the third day of racing at Royal Ascot in southern England June 17, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>