Hats Off to Ms. Victoria and Mr. Zombie (Fashion)

Years ago, before I became a regular model for the Federation of Vintage Fashion’s Vintage Expo I used to marvel at one of their gorgeous regulars. Statuesque, with clear white skin, black hair and perfectly applied makeup, the most amazing thing about her modeling style was the prop she used-a large black and white tuxedo cat! Nestled gracefully across her shoulders he accentuated every garment she wore with skill and efficiency. Later I found out he was her partner and muse when she danced professionally as well.


Now that I have Zombie, I realize why her cat influenced and participated in her creative process so completely. He wasn’t just an important part of her team he was symbiotically connected to her creatively, emotionally, intellectually and psychologically.

Long past my two Covid vaccinations and with things starting to open up again I’m feeling a little restless and want to travel. Before the pandemic I would’ve been happy going to Catalina or San Francisco, but after being cooped up in Los Angeles for so long I want to go somewhere non-casual and steeped in history. What I really want to do is go to a place where Zombie and I can show off!

One of my Instagram friends helped me decide about our destination when, after seeing one of my posts featuring my collection of hats, she said, “If you love hats you should go to the Melbourne Cup Races because when everyone’s dressed up it looks like one big hat shop!”

Melbourne Cup

World famous and swaddled in sartorial lore, the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse, has been a media sensation since its inception in the 1800s. While doing my research for my fantasy trip, the most fascinating pieces of news I came across was that Queen Elizabeth, who set the trend for “mid-calf length dresses, worn with pearls, hats and gloves” was also equally passionate about horses, and actually owned a racehorse!

The spectacle is no less wondrous today, and definitely seems worth the long trek from California. From the writer’s perspective I can see myself taking copious notes on a reporter’s pad and taking loads of photos. From the fashionista’s point of view, I can see myself wearing a tiered, floral print Ulla Johnson midi dress, a sharp Philip Treacy hat, and walking Zombie on a Chanel chain pet leash or in a swanky carrier. Either way it would definitely be a dream trip come true.

Until the day comes when I can actually go with Zombie, however, I can always watch My Fair Lady and Easter Parade on TCM and drool over pricey dresses, hats and shoes in magazines and online, prepare my interview questions for the other well-dressed attendees, and sharpen my photography skills for all the photo opps I hope to find there.

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