The 159th instalment of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival in Cape Town is bringing a different flare to the event this year as the annual equine and fashion spectacle will accommodate members of the public for free.
Ahead of the two-day event – on Friday and Saturday – coordinator Katherine Grey said there would be a free area where attendees would be allowed to bring their own blankets and chairs to enjoy the festivities. Food and drinks will be available from the bar and food trucks nearby.
Grey explained that, following some feedback, this year’s layout would be slightly different.
“We’re pulling people closer together by bringing the hospitality areas closer to each other to create a friendly and intimate atmosphere,” she said.
As usual, the festival is set to be the sea of blue and white couture that launched a thousand ships, and will offer an array of pulsating racing, high-end fashion and world-class entertainment at the Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town.
“The Queen’s Plate is different from other races in that we have a consistent blue and white theme – from the décor to the fashion – complemented by a jazz element,” said Grey.
Last year’s A-list celebrities who attended the extravaganza included media darling, fashion designer and actress Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, and TV personalities Nomzamo Mbatha and Maps Maponyane.
This year, the entertainment on offer will include jazz trios and quintets of young musicians, as well as the popular Cape minstrels.
Speaking about fashion trends expected at this year’s festival, acclaimed celebrity fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee said people should dress in all shades of blue and white.
“Navy blue is still fine, but preferably [dress in] a lighter shade of blue such as a baby blue or cobalt shade,” he said.
“Nothing towards the teals or turquoises. If you’re not dressed according to the colour palette, you probably won’t be allowed in. The Sun Met and the Durban July are more avant-garde and artistic impressions of the theme, whereas the Queen’s Plate is much more stylish and elegant,” he added.
Coetzee suggested that people wear well-tailored suits – nothing too formal – and chic, below the knee cocktail dresses and stylish hats.
“The best-dressed competition is quite a coveted one because the winner gets a five-night trip to London, which is quite exciting. There is also a competition for the best hat,” he said.