Meet, Alex Hecker. She was sashed with the 2019 Kangaroo Island Cup Best Dressed Womenswear title on Saturday 16 February. We spent some time with Alex after her win to get to know her (and her racing style) a little more.
Tell us about your winning outfit. What were you wearing?
The dress: The ‘Equinesse’ dress is by Australian designer Lisa Barron, who sourced the horse print fabric from Paris. The dress had some custom mesh sleeves added to tie in with asymmetrical mesh cut-out on the left side.
The hat: By Australian milliner Stephanie Spencer – a beautiful big straw brim with ties that finish in a bow at the back of the neck. I attached the mustard strap to tie in with the bag.
The bag: By Review - a leather bucket bag which is big enough to fit the kitchen sink! I previously used this bag at the polo with a much more casual ensemble, so it’s a versatile style that can be dressed up or down. I loved the mustard which gave the whole outfit a pop of colour for Summer racing. It also has a mirror inside the lid for make-up touch ups which I used on the day.
The shoes:Bought online from ASOS, made with Perspex/mesh and super comfortable to wear!
What process did you go through to plan and choose this ensemble?
Being a horse lover, I fell in love with the horse on the front of the Lisa Barron Equinesse dress, and then had the sleeves added to match the mesh down the left side of the dress. The hat came next and with a classic dress has to come a classic style hat. I chose Stephanie Spencer because she is a master of the brimmed hat! I also asked her to include ties for extra effect. The mustard strap is from my bag and it helped to tie in with the pop of colour. I felt like I needed some colour for a Summer race day and since I already had the bag sitting in my wardrobe, mustard it was! Lastly, I wanted shoes which were interesting but didn’t take away from the elegance of the outfit, so thought the classic stiletto heel with a clear and mesh toe tied in perfectly.
Where did your love for racing fashion begin?
I grew up owning and loving horses and even had my own ex-racehorse, and when I started attending race days I loved the feeling of elegance that dressing up in race wear gave me. I also loved the social aspect which I quickly learnt is a huge part of the racing fashion world, and have met some beautiful people over the years!
What was your first racing event and how has your style evolved since?
I attended my first race day and entered my first fashions on the field at the Geelong Cup in 2011, where my hat blew off walking down the runway…it was a memorable way to kick off my love for racing fashion, and I now know to pin my hat down on a windy day! I think my style is constantly evolving as seasonal trends change and my personal tastes change. For me, entering fashions on the field is not so much about what I think the judges want to see but more about trying to create stand-out classic looks with a contemporary twist.
Who are your racewear style icons?
Francesca Cumani is not only flawless in her fashion sense, but to me she is the definition of style. I love how she knows as much about the horses as she does racing fashion. I also admire stylist Lana Wilkinson because she puts together some really fashion-forward outfits - every person styled by her looks amazing from head to toe.
What are your favourite labels for racewear?
I love to explore many different designers and change it up all the time, but I do like to stick to Australian designers for the most part. For dresses I often go to a small boutique shop in Geelong, called Urban Chic where I’ve been known to pick up pieces by Elliatt and Thurley. I also have a great appreciation for anything Tony Maticevski and Yoejin Bae. For millinery I like Stephanie Spencer, Lisa Alexander Design, Rebecca Share and Lady of Leisure Millinery.
Tell us about your makeup. What look did you choose and what key products did you use?
I always choose a look which is glam but natural, so it doesn’t take away from my outfit. I like to start with a good base, using MAC Studio Fix foundation and a L’Oreal True Colour Match mineral powder over the top which lasts all day at the races and isn’t too heavy or oily on my skin. My blush and highlighter are also by MAC, eye shadow palette is by Two Faced and has a great combination of warmer colours. I use Ardell Demi Wispies false lashes because they are natural looking.
What products do you always take in your bag for a day at the races?
That depends on the size of my clutch! I always make sure I take eyelash glue, mints, lipstick, and some small $$ to place a bet on the main race.
How did you choose a hairstyle ? What styling process did your locks go through?
Because I was wearing a brimmed hat my hairstyle was fairly simple – my hair was curled using a curling wand, and then brushed out and swept back into a low ponytail.
How would you describe your personal style?
Not as high glam as my racewear style! During the warmer months I love a simple white t-shirt/blue jeans combo with some heels, or a cute colourful playsuit. In winter I love wearing black, as well as big coats, heeled boots and a coloured scarf.
How do you spend your time when you’re not at racing events?
I’ve just finished a Masters in Cultural Heritage which concluded 7 years of study and I’ve been doing some part time collections management work at a museum in Geelong. I’m also a part time model and a passionate ambassador for Guide Dogs Victoria, having just finished raising my first Guide Dog puppy a couple of months ago!
Why should everyone book in a day at the races this year?
Because the races are for EVERYONE! There’s no age limit on who can attend and it’s a great way to celebrate with friends. Families love it, kids can enjoy the outdoors and punters get to see their picks in action.
What is your favourite race day to go to and why?
I love the colour and glamour of Oaks Ladies Day during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, it’s where I draw a lot of my inspiration for future race wear outfits!
What is the biggest mistake women make when dressing for a racing carnival?
Choosing an outfit which they don’t feel uncomfortable in – all racegoers need to ensure that their outfit is the right fit, and suits their own personal style. All that matters is that YOU love your outfit!
What is your style advice for first-time racegoers?
Keep it simple and comfortable. Wear something you can have fun in, and try to have a backup outfit in case the weather changes.