With mother nature on our side, and a trackside location to kill, today Flemington’s marvellous Birdcage (also known as Melbourne’s epicentre of media and social royalty), opened its doors for the first time this year to a select few special guests to showcase what will be on offer for an unbelievable four day carnival.
The marquees which have been in the planning and building stages for months are nearing completion with installations of florals, Mumm champagne, and exquisite sculptures being welcomed in preparation for the carnival that stops the nation. All in friendly competition with oneanother to be bigger and better than the next, the marquees go all out at this time of year and show off with their creative collaborations, and ultimately ooze everything the Birdcage is renowned for. Elegance, sophistication, glamour, and of course extravagance. Each with their own personal touch and creative flare, the themes reflect the style, culture, and background of the sponsor and their association with race day.
The party starter and the essence of the Spring Racing Carnival, the Mumm marquee brings to life everything we imagine when we think ‘French Alps’ and ‘High Altitude’ – the theme of choice for this years marquee. Not only that, but once again the ‘By day, By night’ aspect of the marquee will remain where we see the afternoon bring a party set up and a transformation into a party scene reminiscent to that of the apres-ski parties in the Alps. With cannons full of confetti, this party is not one to miss. Decadent Yasa caviar which has been flown in from Dubai at around $4300 per one-kilogram tin will be on offer to all guests, taking joy in tickling their tastebuds. Not a hand will be seen without a glass of Mumm bubbly, and rightfully so. For a drinking experience, guests will also have the opportunity to taste the ‘Le cordon luge’ cocktail chilled with liquified carbon dioxide! Talk about high altitude!
Swisse are always bound to cause a stir with their unique and fresh marquee, and once again this years unveil was absolutely no exception. When you think of Swisse, you think of wellness, freshness, and happiness. All three were portrayed in this marquee which could otherwise be referred to as a masterwork of art, with the theme this year being Modern China to celebrate their success in the Asian market. Designed by the extremely talented Margaret Zhang in conjunction with designer Matt Martino, the two brang to life a vision like no other. The marquee will bring a yum-cha menu for guests at around 3pm, where they will see all things Chinese, from green tea ice cream to delicious jelly shots. A stand out of the marquee would have to be the opulent design and of course, the human sized birdcage, strategically placed within the marquee, within the birdcage! Nothing short of sheer, extreme, brilliance if you ask me. Rating? 10/10. Let us wait to see how things heat up on raceday shall we….!
A definite jaw dropper and head turner, once again Lexus will be reigning as the queen of aesthetically pleasing designs at the birdcage. Always a favourite of mine, this three-level marquee marquee oozes elegance and sophistication which can be felt from even the entrance of the Flemington gates. Building on his viral creations from the 2014 Lexus Design Pavillion, creative genius Joost Bakker leaves the Lexus marquee radiating from within the birdcage, by bringing a real life birdsnest to the birdcage.
Surrounded by nesting of over 100km of recycled wire, and with an interior roofing filled with tulips, the Lexus marquee will definitely steal the hearts of one too many with its exhilirating coup and brave design. Inspired by the theme synonomous of Lexus’ presentation at Milan Design Week – Journey of the Senses, guests are set to enjoy the ultimate luxury experience through custom created soundscapes, scents, striking visual aspects, and tastes. It is here that the utmost sophistication from within the Birdcage can be found, and the most amount of hearts can be stolen.
Guests dining downstairs will feast on explosive fingerfoods such as the renowned cheeseburger spring roll by Lexus ambassador and chef Dan Hong, whilst guests upstairs will be taken on a culinary adventure at ‘Atica’ by world celebrated chef and Lexus ambassador, Ben Shewry.
Renowned to be the marquee that never steers clear of taking extravagance to all new levels, the Melbourne Cup principal sponsors, Emirates, are putting on a real English party this year! Think English soldiers breaking out into dance to Spice Girls and extravagant chandeliers that twinkle with the sunlight, and you have the Emirates marquee. With a touch up bar featuring hair superstylist Joey Scandizzo, and beauty favourites YSL, we know where we will find the ladies! The indoor sit down restaurant and outdoor English terrace overlooking the racecourse leave it easy for star studded guests to enjoy all of the action that the races have to offer.
As usual, the marquee will take guests on a culinary journey to the destination of choice, and this year delicacies will include cucumber and elderflower jelly canapés, angus beef and oyster pies, kedgeree croquette and brioche summer pudding.
Being strategically situated at the final stretch of the track, the Emirates marquee is the place to be and be seen this Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Retail giant Myer have once again managed to pull of a marquee that is bound to turn heads. Bringing Spring to life with an exotic ‘Super Botanica’ themed space, Myer will this year host more than 220 guests on each day of the Spring Racing Carnival and serve over 5000 glasses of G.H Mumm French champagne. Creative director of Gloss Creative, Amanda Henderson, has proven that style has no boundaries when creating this wonderland of lavish blooms, and today guests were able to take a sneak peak of what life will be like within the magical land which bursted botanical sets of wonder, fruits, and vines.
Melbourne favourites in catering, The Big Group, have partnered with Myer to produce what can only be described as a stomach rumbling. Bringing an array of fresh foods including leafy green kale salads, sashimi, Spring fruit tartlets and more, the Myer marquee will provide a unique dining experience to its fashion forward guests. The Oyster bar will be a popular stop, with three varieties of the delicious Oysters on offer for those who find seafood to hit the spot.
The luxury Bibelot gelato cart is the icing on the cake, with a variety of mouth watering choices of artisan gelato on offer such as rasberry-rose, coconut sorbet, pistachio gelato, and strawberry-lemon myrtle sorbet.
Celebrating their 120th anniversary in style, Lavazza will bring Italy to life in Flemington’s birdcage and today did so in an incredible way. The birdcage marquee transcended guests into a beautiful contemporary space full of the Lavazza brand shade, Blue. Designed and styled by Neale Whitaker, the marquee will celebrate six masters of Italian mid-century design representing the legacy of their work. From the geometric floor tile design by the 19th century multi-talented Gio Ponti, to the 1969 Up series armchair by renowned architect and designer Gaetano Pesce, the iconic designs will be surrounded by a cloudscape generated by Vincent Fantauzzo and inspired by contemporary Italian design studiopepe.
Guests be treated to edible pieces of heaven throughout the day by chef Adam D’Sylva and dessert guru Silvia Collocawill. Think gnocchi, cannoli and more mouthwatering Italian cuisine. Talk about heating things up, Italian style!
Stepping foot into the James Boag marquee for the first time ever, I was mesmerised by the atmosphere and fresh feel of the James Boag marquee. Mother nature led the entertainment in the marquee, with a groundbreaking musical installation, the Meteorphonium. As the weather conditions change, so do the sounds of the symphony by an instrument created by a team of world-leading technology and audio engineers, and lead by Nick Ryan and Daniel Jones. The unique musical experience expelling the sounds of Flemington will continue over the four day carnival to provide a real treat for guests at this prestigious marquee.
Guests will also be treated to a culinary experience of the tastes of Tasmania by superstar chef Matt Moran like no other. With mouthwatering Duck and Pea Pies (of which I am still dreaming of), stomach grumbling Seared Kingfish and Radish, and an extremely tasteful combination of Avocado and Wasabi, I could melt away in food heaven. With sensory mouth exploding mini Carmelia Éclair and Caramel filled mini-donuts, I left the marquee wondering what I would do without some more of that food, and considered setting camp inside the marquee for the next week. These dishes formed part of a 28 item grazing menu which will be on offer during the marquee. Nothing but amazing things to say of this years James Boag marquee.
There you have it – keep an eye out over the next week for live updates on all things Spring Racing!