Vintage style wins contemporary category

WARRNAMBOOL WINNER: Helen Varcoe after being sashed the Contemporary Lady of the Day at the premier racing event. Picture: WARRNAMBOOL RACING CLUB

Caroline Hammat

For over three decades Helen Varcoe has thrown her hat in the ring and been a regular Fashions on the Field entrant in racing meets both locally and interstate.

Ms Varcoe and her husband Andy recently attended the TAB May Racing Carnival at the Warrnambool Racing Club where she was announced the Contemporary Lady of the Day winner.

The three day carnival is one of Australia’s hallmark country racing events.

Ms Varcoe said although Andy had been before she had never been able to attend the carnival but had always wanted to.

“We were originally going to go because our horse, The Big Kahuna, was being worked up to go in the cup,” she said.

“But the horse unfortunately has had an injury.

“We decided we would go to the races anyway and I said ‘if I’m not going for the horses I’m going for the fashion’.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to go to, because the fashion event over there is huge.

Ms Varcoe’s winning look was based around a 1960’s English made jacquard pant suit purchased from a vintage clothing store in Adelaide.

The outfit was too large for her but Ms Varcoe said she loved the material describing it as a glamorous quilted look in pearly cream and faint black, with fine gold lurex thread throughout.

A local dressmaker altered the outfit with the neckline changed to one Ms Varcoe saw on Pinterest and a fur decoration from Bali was added

Other accessories included a vintage cream beret purchased from a friends market stall which the experienced milliner hand beaded with swarovski crystals adding a feather centrepiece she created.

Having a good eye for the potential in things others would pass over, Ms Varcoe used a hot pink leopard print bag that someone was throwing out.

Hating the colour but loving the shape of the bag Ms Varcoe painted it gold and added fine leather trim.

The final touches to her outfit were gold shoes, a pair of her daughter’s earrings and her maternal grandmother’s belt.

“I didn’t really want a belt but it tied in perfectly.

“It had some religious type symbols that I thought would have to be a bit of good luck.”

The good luck certainly came to fruition as Ms Varcoe was announced the winner and took home $2,500 in prizes which included a sash, $500 cash and a $2,000 hamper.