After a few technical hiccups, my fleeting jaunt to Melbourne with Lexus is here to play, as promised. I, for one, had never been to the races prior to last weekend’s Derby Day shenanigans. Indeed, dear Yummii had to come to my rescue in the way of headwear, I only noted the black-and-white dress code two days prior when Maja reminded me, had my heart set on wearing shorts until an hour before getting on my flight, and certainly knew nothing about the racing process beyond any small talk about physically riding from my tween years of equestrian obsession, before stabling costs for my then horse became astronomical… of course.
So, with that life story in mind, I’m glad to say that my first taste of the races was fairly exceptional. “It’s a bit like flying business class,” one of the Lexus producers said of the Birdcage, which is apparently the top tier of race day experiences that one couldn’t possibly go back from.* So, while neither Alex nor I could make much sense of the race book (if anybody could enlighten us next season, I’m all for education), the Lexus Design Pavilion had every other form of luxury, entertainment, and awesome humans to effectively occupy the day. Neil Perry and Simon Denton, for one (two?), are right up there on my culinary inspirations list (though I’m sure my mini-muffins don’t quite make the cut compared to their assorted extravagances); Mr Jamie Durie who was responsible for the design of the Sky Deck overlooking the racetrack (and to whom I dorkily declared that I’d grown up watching him on TV – seriously who says that); Hugh Stewart, though ironically out of focus above (sorry, Hugh!), whose portraiture I’ve admired for at least a seven years, before which I had just started studying film photography; and darling Liz Cambage – we’ve been back-and-forth Instagram-ing for a good 6 months now, and it was amazing to finally meet and chat with the realest woman in the country, in my humble opinion.**
On that note, who could forget Naomi Campbell, whose name should almost be preceded by ‘the Honourable’, and who, despite my momentary wig-out at her flawlessness, was exceptionally gracious and the undoubted star of the show (before flying back to Sydney later that evening to be the actual star of her own show).
So, all in all, a good few moments.
And a lot of childhood boxes ticked.
Clearly, I am not one to be nonchalant about celebrity company, but regardless, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the Lexus teams and their staff on the day for having me. A hard day to match, and I can say quite confidently that there will certainly be a next time.
And perhaps, next time, I will wear shorts.
*Though I have to say, I walked past the Nursery while doing some filming work around midday, and it looked pretty fun, albeit loud, in those mini tent things…
**Liz, I was going to post a photo I shot of you just before Naomi walked in, but I’ll have to send it to you – definitely my favourite capture of the day.
P.S. Jordan, I didn’t forget about you #2020experience