The first winner of Fashions on the Field Fairfax Publications

The first winner of Fashions on the Field

In 1962, an 18-year-old aspiring model named Margaret Wood decided to attend the Melbourne Cup. 

VRC 22 August 2023

Despite her uncle, Len Jewson, being one of the best-known bookies at the time, Margaret has never been to a race meeting before. The tips that her Uncle Len gave her may have not been winners, but Margaret and her friend did discover the new Fashions on the Field competition that had been introduced that year as part of the VRC’s initiative to encourage more women to the track.

Unable to compete on Cup Day due to the fact that they had made their outfits themselves, when the rules stated contestants must have bought them, the pair decided to return on Stakes Day to try their luck. Unable to afford an expensive outfit, Margaret got creative.

“I borrowed the hat, I borrowed the money for the outfit, went to the races, won Final Day and then [overall] Fashions on the Field,” she said. The winning ensemble was a frothy pink tulle hat by LaRene and a white linen coat. It garnered her the prize of a new Falcon Futura, which Margaret said was “incredible, and beyond anything [her father] could imagine.”