Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Victoria Racing Club imposes a hatwa on Andrej Pejic's Princess Beatrice tribute

suzanne carbone via the age
Well, well, well. In today's update about our post on Andrej Pejic's planned ensemble for Crown Oaks Day at Flemington, we spoke to everyone other than Melbourne milliner Kerrie Stanley. We spoke to Pejic, his mum, his agent and even designer Arthur Galan, asking why he was en route to the races in a different jacket and hat than originally planned. "He had a few different options" offered agent Matthew Anderson. "The hat didn't turn up in time" said Pejic. Had we managed to also reach Stanley, then perhaps we might have learned a little earlier on about the intriguing, last-minute hatwa that was imposed by the Victoria Racing Club on Pejic, Stanley and the Swisse Vitamins marquee which was hosting him. Why? Hilariously, so as not to offend Treacy - who was down at Flemington for the second consecutive year as the VRC's International Style Ambassador. Apparently the VRC and Philip Treacy may have had a humour bypass.  

On Wednesday night, as you may recall, Stanley told us that her "tribute" to Princess Beatrice's much-mocked Philip Treacy hat that was worn to last April's royal wedding, wasn't as much of a tribute as everyone seemed to think it was going to be. 

According to Stanley, the hat made for Pejic featured her signature teardrop shape for the 2012 Spring Racing season and although approximately the same size as Beatrice's Treacy and worn, similarly, low on the forehead, it was a solid shape. Unlike the original Treacy, with its central, hollow, oval centrepiece and erect ribbon-esque tendrils - which have earned comparisons to everything from a toilet seat to a uterus, complete with fallopian tubes. 

The hat was made to match what we were told was Galan's "dusty pink" trouser suit. 

Our story went live at 7.52pm on Wednesday night. 

But at 9.00pm on Wednesday night, as revealed this afternoon by The Age, Stanley was informed by Swisse Vitamins that the Beatrice "tribute outfit" could not be worn because the VRC was concerned it risked offending certain VIP visitors. 

Frockwriter has obtained a copy of the VRC statement, which is sourced to no less than the VRC chief executive officer Dale Monteith: 

“The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) was made aware that Andrej Pejic was considering attending in a tribute outfit. 
 “It was thought that this may have offended special guests at Flemington this week. The VRC approached Swisse which readily agreed to an alternative ensemble”.
Given that multiple media outlets have been talking about the Beatrice tribute for weeks, it strikes us as odd that the VRC would make a crackdown at the last minute.

But then, it's been a bigger week than usual for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. No mention has been made so far of any VRC concern about offending Beatrice's uncle Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, but the royal duo are, nevertheless, in Australia at the moment and were the guests of honour at Tuesday's Melbourne Cup. And with all the additional royal focus this year, the British media has had a field day highlighting the drunken buffoonery on show in Flemington's public areas on Cup day

On the back of all the latter embarrassing negative publicity, perhaps the prospect of a bloke channeling Beatrice in the Birdcage - Flemington's high-profile corporate marquee enclave - was a little too much in the end.  

Although The Age reports that Treacy objected to his hat being copied, he told The Herald Sun he was "flattered" by Pejic's tribute and that, "I'm one of his biggest fans".  

But not only did Stanley have to come up with an alternative hat at the last minute, Pejic also swapped Galan's sleeveless boyfriend jacket for a purple-and-white digital print jacket by up-and-coming Melbourne designer James Todorov, wearing only Galan's pink trousers (teamed with Christian Louboutin heels, an Alexander McQueen clutch and some Kozminsky jewellery). According to The Age, Galan's jacket had to be retired because Pejic had spilled a drink on it.

We asked both the VRC and Swisse Vitamins if the ban stretched beyond the hat to the all-pink outfit - as suggested in fact by the VRC statement - with no response. Perhaps it was seen to echo, a little too closely, the head-to-toe taupe Valentino and Treacy ensemble worn by Princess Beatrice last year.  

In any event, Pejic looked pretty striking in what Stanley tells us was a hot pink "free-sculpted" piece made from a material called jinsin - whipped up at 3.00am Thursday morning.

With numerous other orders to complete at the last-minute, was the VRC demand a royal pain in the ass?

"I was just following the brief, it was out of my hands, I had to do what I had to do" she told frockwriter, diplomatically. 

Has she ever heard of a milliner's hat being banned before at Flemington? 

"Not in my capacity" said Stanley, who has been a milliner for 14 years. "I'm not quite sure why it was blown out of all proportion. It was a tribute to an amazing milliner who has always been one of my idols. But it was not a replica, not at all. 

"I've met Philip a couple of times, he's a beautiful man. And to be the Style Ambassador of the VRC, they're very lucky to have him here. But it's just a hat at the end of the day. First world problem". 

Sadly Pejic's original hat no longer exists. Stanley reports that she broke its components down to make three new headpieces. 

But Pejic may not be finished with the concept. 

He told us earlier today, "I'm saving the vagina hat for my wedding".


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