It won't rain on our fashion parade! Ladies Day racegoers brave bad weather at Royal Ascot to put on stunning display of hat designs
18:51 GMT, 21 June 2012
It is the highlight of the summer social calendar and nothing – not even the prospect of the predicted 2pm thunderstorm – could dampen the spirits of racegoers on Ascot's Ladies Day.
The royal racecourse was transformed into a sea of colour for the third day of the Royal meet, with bright outfits topped off by the most flamboyant of hats.
Tickets have been sold out for months for this year's Ladies Day – the day in which women wear their biggest, boldest, and often most outlandish outfit.
With the rain falling steadily all night, the grounds were wet, meaning that ladies had to pick their way through muddy puddles in their finery – but even that was not enough to curb the enthusiasm.
Despite the gathering clouds, the crowds were in high spirits as they flocked through the gates.
As befits tradition, statement hats were the order of the day, with everything from Olympic torches to teapots providing inspiration for the headgear on show, with many racegoers clearly keeping their most magnificent outfits for the occasion.
Tropical: Tequila sunrise tones for this colourful quartet
Beautiful in blue: These friends colour co-ordinated their outfits for today's meet. Milliner Jayne Elwell, from Sedgwick, who created the teapot, stamp, fried breakfast, afternoon tea and crown-shaped hats, said: 'This is such a big year for Britain so we wanted to go for a patriotic theme
High fashion: Ascot chiefs said they were 'thrilled' by the sense of style shown by
racegoers on Ladies' Day, after the dress code was tightened up
Excitement crept towards fever pitch
as it was revealed the Middleton family would be joining the Royal
procession later in the afternoon. Carole and Michael Middleton will
today be taking part in the daily parade, arriving at the racecourse by
horse-drawn Landau along with the royal family.
The Queen was in place on the
royal balcony at 3.05pm to watch her filly Momentary, ridden by Hayley
Turner, run in the Ribblesdale Stakes.
Dobson, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press
Association, said this morning: 'There will be pretty heavy rain first
thing, turning murky and muggy by the late morning. In the afternoon,
there is the risk of heavy downpours.
'If they get unlucky, there could be an absolute cloudburst. /06/21/article-2162540-13B74A87000005DC-956_472x897.jpg” width=”472″ height=”897″ alt=”Karren Brady with husband Paul Peschisolido” class=”blkBorder” />
Sophisticated duo: Apprentice star Karren Brady with footballer husband Paul Peschisolido; RIGHT, Stylish: Louise Roe with companion
Fine fillies: Two pretty blondes arrive early to soak up the atmosphere; RIGHT, splashes of red brighten up a pure white look
Chief executive Charles Barnett said:
'There is a tremendous array of hats on display today including a sea
of fascinators in the grandstand – the likes of which we cannot remember
'We are thrilled with how the dress
code has been embraced over the week and today is no exception, with
everyone looking fantastic.'
The rain showers meant that an umbrella was a must-have accessory, but
racegoers' vibrant outfits provided the splash of colour needed to
brighten up the grey day.
The new dress code meant more thought had to go into outfits this Ladies' Day, always a highlight of the social season.
Headpieces, hats or fascinators must be worn in the grandstand area – with hats mandatory in the royal enclosure.
Bare shoulders are also a no-no,
midriffs must be covered and dresses and skirts have to be of a 'modest'
length. Men must also wear a shirt and tie in the grandstand. A team of
dress code assistants were on hand to give out fascinators,
pashmina-style shawls and ties to those not quite coming up to scratch.
Milliner Jayne Elwell, from Sedgwick,
who created the teapot, stamp, fried breakfast, afternoon tea and
crown-shaped hats, said: 'This is such a big year for Britain so we
wanted to go for a patriotic theme.
Sir Walter Raleigh when you need him Pretty in pink racegoer Nazer
Bullen steps over a puddle in her wonderful outfit as she arrives at
Ladies Day this morning
'We decided to reflect different aspects of Britain as a celebration of our culture.
'I do like the new dress rules. Last
year I really noticed a difference in standards. People weren't dressed
respectfully. It's nice to dress up for Royal Ascot.'
Celebrities were out in force,
including veteran entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth, composer Lord (Andrew)
Lloyd Webber, former Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave, Apprentice
star Karren Brady, fashion designer Ozwald Boateng and Downton Abbey
creator Julian Fellowes.
Fellowes said: 'It's rather typical Ladies' Day weather.
'But I like the fact everyone dresses up, right through the whole race track.'
Sir Steve, who was at his first Royal Ascot, said he was looking forward to another sporting occasion.
He said: 'The Olympics have been my
life for such a long time. The Games are coming to our home country and
I'm very, very excited about it.'
Mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins
braved the rain showers to pose for photographers in a sleeveless,
floral metallic dress with sheer panels by Richard Nicoll and a grey hat
by Philip Treacy.
The Welsh singer, who was presenting
one of the prizes today, said: 'I think it's such a lovely occasion to
dress up and go for the glamour. I love seeing everyone's dresses.
'This is my first time here and I love seeing what everyone is wearing.'
Asked by a fan if she was going to sing, she replied: 'No – it's a day off with my mum and my sister.'
Standing out: A painted face hat made a statement, while RIGHT, tea ladies pose for a photo in their impressive headpieces
Tea for two: A teapot and cake platter provide inspiration for these tasty headpieces
Sporting summer: A very topical hat for this football-mad racegoer, while RIGHT, Gold medal for the lady who dared to wear an Olympic torch on her head
And if they get peckish… These ladies sought inspiration from the kitchen for their Ascot headgear
One of a kind: These adventurously dressed ladies were unlikely to bump into other racegoers wearing the same hats
Patriotic: Lynne Webster wore a Diamond Jubilee Union Jack hat Designed by Magz Bennett. RIGHT, taking a bow in pink and blue silk
Hitting the right note: A piano keyboard hat; RIGHT: Summery tones for this frothy confection of orange straw and vibrant feathers
Love Hearts sweets provided inspiration for this Fine Filly headpiece, while RIGHT, this lady got inventive with a stamp design
Getting the blues: Cutting an elegant figure in a navy lace creation and RIGHT, royal blue hues for this pretty racegoer
Blending in: Both of these spectators ensured their hats coordinated with their self-styled outfits
What a sight! The beautifully dressed crowds at Ascot Ladies Day
BROLLY GOOD SHOW!
Rain never stops play in Britain! Black and white brollies kept off the rain for these monochrome ladies
Prepared for the deluge: A well-dressed couple braving the wet weather, while RIGHT: for these ladies, it's only a few spots!
Watch out dear! Two racegoers are taken by surprise as the winds blow their brolly inside-out
flying the flag: Even the brollies were red white and blue
Taking a well-earned break! Girls in stilettos take the weight off their feet during the long day
Ladies in red: Many racegoers were seen sheltering from the rain using brollies similar to those used by the Queen
PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY AT ASCOT THIS MORNING
Drying up: An Ascot worker wipes the rain off benches in the Grandstand before the first arrivals
Jubilee spirit: A bench decorated with a Union flag makes a striking statement in the Grandstand
Sisyphean tasks: As the rain comes down, an
Ascot worker attempts to dry the chairs off ready for people to arrive
…while another prepares the course the old fashioned way
ASCOT'S NEW DRESS CODE EXPLAINED: