If Who What Wear Australia was around in 1965, our spring racing stories would likely be very different from what we’re publishing today. We’d be excited about pantyhose, gloves and long hem-lengths—not jumpsuits, crowns and ear-cuffs. Happily, today tells a different story, and the woman we have to thank for that, is British model Jean Shrimpton.
Inspired by what Shrimpton wore to the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 1965, Sunday Style and Kate Peck have teamed up to create a fashion story on retro race-day dressing. The shoot is stunning, but the story behind it is even more interesting. On October 30, 1965, Shrimpton arrived at the races in a simple white shift dress hemmed five inches above her knees, to a swarm of scandalised onlookers and photographers.
The next day, The Sun newspaper reported: “There she was, the world’s highest-paid fashion model, snubbing the iron-clad conventions of fashionable Flemington with a dress five inches above the knee—NO hat, NO gloves and NO stockings!”
Today, we’re happy Shrimpton took a punt on a short dress. Not only did her fresh take on race-day dressing pave the way for women to step up and dress differently, but the Australian fashion landscape as a whole changed forever, with designers clamouring to get shorter hemlines into stores almost immediately.