Bradley Martin (left), designer Lauren Layton, Federal Hotel licensee Michael O’Connor and Luke Turner will be celebrating the Melbourne Cup at the Federal Hotel in Alstonville.
Bradley Martin (left), designer Lauren Layton, Federal Hotel licensee Michael O’Connor and Luke Turner will be celebrating the Melbourne Cup at the Federal Hotel in Alstonville. Marc Stapelberg

Filly raises fashion stakes

THE first Tuesday in November traditionally sees the fairer sex festooned in their finest garb, fascinators included, and the display of fashionistas will be nowhere more fabulous than in the Federal Hotel at Alstonville this afternoon.

A trio of beauties will demonstrate the style smarts of local designer Lauren Layton, who has worked at the hotel for the past five years to finance her studies towards becoming a star on the Australian couture scene.

Her involvement with fashion began in Year 7 at Alstonville High, with classes in textiles and design.

Presently she is training in styling, imaging and media at the Australian Institute of Fashion Design, at Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast.

Ms Layton, 20, will offer style tips to the Melbourne Cup day crowd gathered in the bar, with emphasis on the 10 fascinators she created with her own hands.

The models will be dressed in Ms Layton's personal clothing - not her design range, but an insight into her esthetic interests.

Ms Layton's principal fashion tip for today is for race-followers to be bold with their finery

"Don't be safe, take risks. Try wearing lots of colour, or if you're going black and white, set it off with a big, bright orange flower," she said.

"Be different to everyone else. Wear a skirt, for instance, or nice black ankle boots instead of stilettos."

Her personal sense of fun is displayed in the fascinators she has assembled the day.

Yesterday she sported a traditional netting and feathers piece, with a floral centrepiece attached to the headband.

But today, those gathered at the Federal will see a drape of pearls, a miniature top hat and the creative use of pipe-cleaners adorning the models' heads.

"I just play around with ideas, using Mum as a model," Ms Layton said.

"The more abstract the better."

Guidance on the race itself comes from Dad and boss, publican Michael O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor wasn't giving away any hot tips for the race yesterday, but he did reveal there would be two marquees out the back for the big event, with a couple of tables for the champagne.

As well as the Fashions at the Fed session, there would be fine food, competitions for the best hat, best dressed and most creative couple and raffles, with all proceeds going to Our Kids.

Ms Layton was still not sure yesterday what she will be wearing for the festivities - though it will involve a quick freshen up and change from her hotel uniform to something oh-so chic.

When all the shouting's over, she'll be back to work: head down, with her eye on the prize of a glam career in haute couture.

 

CUP CAPERS

Alstonville Bowling Club and Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar: Fashion parade plus food from noon.

Bangalow Bowlo: Lunch, fashion parade, bubbly from 11.20am.

Casino RSM: Morning tea 10am; fashion parade 10.30am; sweeps, best dressed comp; best shoes.

Byron Bay Beach Hotel: Best dressed, Lisa Hunt from 4pm.

 



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