Fashion fight the real blood sport of the racing worldOctober 2, 2012 - 7:00am
I will admit at the outset that I am to fashion what sun-tan lotion is to Irish Summers, but there are few sights to lift the heart more than that of a woman in full battle dress and stilettos making her way through the mud bath at a racecourse.
Perhaps it’s the masochist in me, but mainly I hope it’s because anyone who goes out dressed for the Cannes Film Festival in a country where rain is the default setting deserves all of the agony they can get.
But until Ladies Day – last week’s offering in the Reality Bites series on RTE2 – I had never known the level of undiluted desperation that went along with some women’s efforts to land the voucher for their outfit at a race meeting.
Don’t let the classy clothes or Philip Treacy hats fool you – these women would pull the eyes out of your head for the big prize; indeed, presenter Brendan Courtney was lucky to escape with the continuing power of sight after his brush with the female fashionistas.
The idea behind the documentary was straightforward enough – the programme would follow several perennial contestants for Best Dressed Awards at racecourses up and down the country, to see what motivates them to go to such an effort or angers them when they meet defeat.
But you soon realised that there are two tiers of these Best Dressed Divas – there are the locals who do it ones a year at their local festival meeting . . . but there are the professionals who traipse the country’s courses in the quest for the ultimate prize.
And when you get an insight into the depths of their preparations, you realise just what sort of lengths they will go to as they are spray painted to a colour that is somewhere between orange and brown and then trussed up like bulging turkeys on Christmas Eve, basted and ready for the oven that is Ladies Day.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.