Viktoria Novak is one of Australia’s leading millinery designers. Her headpieces are works of art adorned with exquisite detail. She has won multiple “Accessories Designer of the Year” awards and adored by racing royalty. We sat down with Viktoria to discover what inspired her current collection this season and chat about upcoming trends on the field this season.
1. At what exact moment did you fall in love with the art of millinery?
While I was completing my degree in Fashion Design, I entered a Beyond Blue competition. As part of the brief, entrants were required to interpret the feelings of depression and happiness through a piece of millinery using recycled materials. My headpiece was inspired by the Sydney Opera House, which featured a burst of butterflies all made in yellow and black recycled materials. My creation won first prize in the national competition. My teacher encouraged me to peruse a career in millinery and 12 years later I call this my career, I’m so lucky and privileged to do something that I truly love.
2. What is the inspiration behind your most recent creations?
My latest collection, “Immortal Renaissance”, is inspired by my love of the yesteryear and the great revival of art and literature between the 14th to 17th-century renaissance movement. This collection is also the continuation of the rebirth and revival of handmade artistic millinery using the finest luxurious elements and materials, the Immortal Renaissance is the rebirth of the old soul within.
3. Is there a particular place in the world that inspired your latest designs?
Most definitely, Europe between the 14th – 17th centuries. Respecting the legacy and history during that era played a key role in creating the Immortal Renaissance.
4. Who would you consider to be your style icon when it comes to racing fashion?
My style queen and inspiration is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She is the true essence of class, elegance and timeless.
5. What fashion trends can we expect to see on the field this season?
For millinery, feathers are on the return. Embellished headpieces will continue to trend, including pearls.
6.What is your advice for women wanting to make a fashion statement on the field for the first time?
Pick one key statement piece and don’t overdo it with your accessories, i.e. big statement earrings or jewellery pieces. It’s important to pay homage to the racing industry, it’s all about your millinery. Whatever piece of millinery you choose to wear, wear it with confidence and own it.
7. The dress code for racing season has been interpreted in many ways over recent years. What rules must be followed for the occasion in your opinion?
I’m very big on respecting the racing industry and I do feel as though we have lost a sense of respect and what racing is all about in recent years. The racing industry is proud of their history and therefore racegoers should dress to their regulations to maintain this high standard.
For the gentlemen, I recommend wearing a tailored suit, sports coat or blazer, including a tie (or bowtie) and dress shoes.
Ladies are also expected to maintain a suitable standard of dress. Dress to the race day theme. For example, have fun with the Melbourne Cup which is playful and colourful. For Derby Day, respect the black and white theme. Make sure your dress length is to the knee, no spaghetti straps (shoulders should be covered) and ensure that you are wearing a headpiece or hat (some form of Millinery). Wear comfortable shoes and consider and dress for the weather.
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