Dubai World Cup 2024 fashion: Flamboyant fascinators and flowing dresses set the pace

The thrill of the race is replicated trackside in the Style Stakes fashion competition

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The glitzy Dubai World Cup returned to Meydan Racecourse on Saturday, but the thrill wasn't just apparent on the course as spectators donned their best outfits – from flowy pastel-hued dresses to intricate statement hats and fascinators.

The horse-racing event often doubles as one of Dubai's biggest fashion showcases. Aside from turning heads, best-dressed racegoers are recognised in the annual Style Stakes competition, with prizes of up to Dh200,000 to be won.

This year, a trend towards solid colours was noticeable, with many women opting for a bold monotone look – a detour from the usual summery prints and patterns. Some chose flashy hues while others went for softer pastel tints.

Headpieces are a big element of horse-racing fashion, and this year saw a multitude of varieties. They ranged from intricate, ornate pieces to sophisticated designs using traditional lace and ribbons, and more sculptural creations.

Fashion at horse-racing events such as the Dubai World Cup tends to have strict guidelines. Royal Ascot in England, for example, asks spectators to follow rules on necklines, dress straps and sleeve lengths, as well as hats and fascinators.

The Dubai event has similar expectations around what to wear during the evening, especially for those who want to enter the Style Stakes. Women are required to wear a headpiece and to avoid skimpy outfits.

So modest fashion was a staple of the event, with plenty of long and flowing ensembles.

Aside from the best-dressed women, the Style Stakes also recognises men dressed to the nines. Many male attendees wore outfits that complemented those of their female companions, veering away from simple black-tie looks to incorporate more playful colour combinations.

Another feature of this year's event was rental outfits, for a more sustainable approach. A handful of women, including Style Stakes host Maz Hakim, got their ensembles from Siz, a peer-to-peer designer fashion rental platform in Dubai.

“There’s a growing demand for renting outfits instead of buying them, especially for one-time events,” Siz founder Annabel Demana told The National. She says there is increasing interest from both renters and lenders, and there were many inquiries in the lead-up to the race.

While solid monotone looks were a hit, intricate patterns were still spotted trackside. Some racegoers also wore cultural outfits that showcased their heritage.

Aside from originality, the Style Stakes judges also looked for attention to detail and appropriateness for race day.

Before the event, judge Ruth Bradley told The National: “The main piece of advice is to just be yourself.

“Be super unique because ultimately we are looking for a really unique sense of style and people that stand out.”

Updated: March 31, 2024, 5:45 AM