The fascinator, that OTT brand of luxurious headwear championed by Kate Middleton and made famous by countless outings of British royalty and high society at the Ascot races every year, has been outlawed at this most famous of horse race meetings. Organisers have taken aim at the accessory, as well as miniskirts and bared midriffs, in a new 16-page ‘style guide’. Hemlines now have to be to the knee, with men being asked to dress in morning suits only. Strapless dresses, halter necks and off the shoulder styles are a no-no, as seemingly are any form of tattoo or outlandish body piercing, the Daily Mail taking a rather condescending view of Zoe Nielson’s nose ring and decorative ink as she sauntered into the royal enclosure yesterday.
Hats topped with Olympic rings and fascinators in the shape of Bundt cakes used to be the norm, making lady’s day a famous fixture on the upper class’ social calendar. But those days, seemingly, are behind us.
Thankfully, we welcome outlandish headwear at our summer parties. Indeed, one particular event at Ascot a few years ago saw the ladies get into character, inspired by the quirky costumes of Alice in Wonderland. Quizzed on the new rules, Nielson called them ‘pretentious’. We think she looked fabulous in her casual summer dress and hat, but clearly the Ascot fashion police thought otherwise, as she was promptly asked to leave the royal enclosure.
The more outlandish the better at our Christmas parties in London this year as well. A short ride on the train from the green fields of Surrey, lots of organisations based in and around Ascot are this year heading for the capital to witness burlesque dancing, stilt-walking hosts and aerial acrobat artists performing for their amusement whilst tucking into food that Heston would be proud to call his own.
Forget the races, our Christmas and summer parties are where it’s at if you like to push the boat out!