Although there is no shortage of fabulous events that require elegant dress codes, Royal Ascot is in a league of its own. The quintessentially British occasion has welcomed high society to its Berkshire racecourses since the 1700s, and with it a flurry of OTT frills, florals and modern day Bridgerton-esque ensembles.
The opening Tuesday, which started wet but warmed up nicely, saw racegoers kick off festivities with a triumph of frocks and fascinators. Most notably, self-professed ‘living sculpture’ Daniel Lismore dropped jaws in a dramatic red sliced-up Alexander McQueen gown embellished with floral appliqués and trinkets around the chest, and a Union Jack and feathered hat by Victoria Grant. “I know the dress code has been very strict: I came here before and felt like a fat controller,” he said, of the men’s code which requires a full morning suit and top hat in the to enter The Royal Enclosure. “But this is how I live, and it’s good that Ascot are embracing me, Everyone seems very kind. If I can come here like this, there’s hope for people.”
Former The Saturdays star Una Healy also looked sleek in a white crocheted dress from Victoria Beckham. It’s this summer’s biggest trend, so it’s no surprise she wore a Barbie-core approved pair of heels to complete the ensemble. However the main attraction was undoubtedly her extravagant Ladrokes-commissioned headwear that paid homage to racing superstar Frankie Dettori who is enjoying his final Royal Ascot before hanging up his saddle. A golden model of him performing his infamous flying dismount was the main millinary event.
Considering the spectacle was synonymous with the late Queen Elizabeth, who only missed the racing event once in 2020 due to Covid, there were plenty of royals mulling around the grounds. Arriving on foot, as opposed to the in the royal carriage procession, were Zara and Mike Tindall. She wowed in a £660 green midi buttoned up number from Leo Lin that was styled by Annie Miall. She finished the look with a bespoke straw Sarah Cant boater hat with chic pink ribbons, a pale pink Anya Hindmarch clutch bag, yellow diamond Laurence Coste earrings and Sauvereign shoes, as she mixed with Princess Beatrice, who wore go-to brand Beulah, and her mother, Princess Anne, in the paddock. Of course, new monarch King Charles was the main event, alongside Queen Camilla, who wore a white dress and matching, crystal trimmed overcoat from DIor.
Made in Chelsea’s Georgia Toffolo doubled up her outfits: first wearing a white flowy Gul Hurgel gown with a chic burgundy hat from Juliette Millinery, bag from Mango and shoes from Manebi, before switching to a sleeveless orange dress for maximum fashion impact. Model and Brooklyn Beckham ex Hana Cross also wowed in a simply yet elegant white dress with a bow neckline and matching veiled hat.
Keen to enjoy day two, early arrivials counted influencer Betty Bachz, who wore a black and white tweed dress by London-based designer Huishan Zang, complete with a bespoke matching hat from Miss B’s Millinery, as well as Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who arrived on foot in arm with Elizabeth Segerstrom, the author and widow of philanthropist Henry Segerstrom.
The carriage procession was lead by the King, again sporting his grey-wool morning suit, while the Queen who opted for a lilac look by Anna Valentine, with a contrasting cream hat. Following them were the Tindalls, back for more action, as well as Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and a beaming Andrew Lloyd Webber.
As Ladies Day, Thursday often marks the pinacle of statment looks - and 2023 did not dissapointed. Leading the most stylish arrivals was Sabrina Elba, who looked elegant in a structured, white skirt suit from Self-Portrait, not dissimilar to the look The Princess of Wales chose from the brand to re-open the National Portarit Gallery on Tuesday. Also there enjoying the sun was Made in Chelsea’s Georgia Toffolo, in a red and white floral dress by Rosie Assoulin, and singer Ciinderella Balthazar in a black trouser suit and statement white hat.
Perhaps the most eargly awaited arrival to Royal Ascot was the Prince and Princess of Wales, who after a week busy wth commitments in London, and rumoured school hunting for Prince George at Eton, made their way into the paddock on Friday 23rd July. The Princess was typically elegeant in a bold red dress by her go-to British designer, Alexander McQueen, and a saucer-esque hat by esteemed milliner Philip Treacy. She was joined in the carriage by Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
Click through the gallery above for the best looks at Royal Ascot 2023.
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