GC Magazine - Galleria Cavour

Royal Ascot between style and English tradition

28 June - 2023

Royal Ascot 2023

The spotlight on the Paris fashion shows has just ended, but when it comes to style, the British also know how to get noticed, in their own way. In fact, one of the most exclusive and talked-about social events of the season was held these days: the Roayl Ascot. Although it is an emblazoned sporting event, the horse races are in fact held every year, at the end of June, at the world-famous Berkshire racecourse; the equestrian event, over time, has become a true open-air catwalk.

Thus, for five days, in addition to the racing and betting, the eyes of the press are on the grandstands where a veritable catwalk is punctually staged among lords, ladies and emblazoned guests who revisit the strict dress code with flair and originality. Since 1711, in fact, the British royal family has been ubiquitous at the rendezvous, which was particularly beloved even by the late Queen Elizabeth, and the etiquette on the look has changed very little over the centuries. Although the rules vary depending on proximity to the royal box, it is essential for men to always wear stockings and for women to never have hemlines above the knee.

It is, however, the hat that is the real star of this highly glamorous date. Among creations in a precarious balance between kitsch and originality, they also find room for real strokes of style: such as Kate Middleton‘s homage last year to Lady Diana with a black-and-white polka-dot suit and a wide-brimmed hat adorned with white flowers by Sally-Ann Provan. Impossible not to see comparisons with the unforgettable Queen of the People who wore just such a dress in 1988.

If the British press is always on the lookout for exaggeration, the tribune did not seem to disappoint by focusing heavily on the dramatic effect of the headdresses. The custom of colorful hats is actually a way of asserting British pride by carrying on a centuries-old tradition. However, the eagerness to get on the gossip covers and society pages has ended up whetting the appetites of even the highest aristocracy, creating, over time, a veritable competition for the most extravagant and photographed hat.

Over the years, floral caps, small colorful pagodas, dizzying architectural creations and all sorts of imaginative reinterpretations of tradition have been staged. This year, in the first Royal Ascot in the presence of the new monarch King Charles III, it was Sabrina Elba who dictated the rules of style, going for a total white look by the brand Self-Portrait and a teardrop hat: a sign that simplicity may be the new frontier of the season.

If even Princess Anne went for a formal blue hat, decidedly bolder seemed the new Queen, Camilla Parker Bowles, with a wide feathered hat by Philip Treacy. The more malicious ones wanted to see, in this extravagant choice, a way to finally claim her new role, no longer in the shadows, in the Royal family: but you know, fashion and its secret messages are also part of the fascinating style competition of Royal Ascot, which has nothing to envy to the ongoing equestrian competition.