From steel-cap boots to silverware … Carle Rutledge kisses the winner’s trophy after the Myer Fashions on the Field final on Oaks Day.Credit:Melissa Singer
By day, Queenslander Carle Rutledge gets around in steel-capped boots in her job that takes her on to construction sites.
But on Oaks Day at Flemington there was no dust sticking to the 38-year-old's sunflower yellow heels as she took out the national final in the Myer Fashions on the Field in an oufit that included a dress by one of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex's favourite brands.
Rutledge teamed the burgundy, yellow and navy dress by Roksanda with a yellow bag and shoes, and a hat she made herself – a late inclusion after her original plan didn't work.
Although Rutledge has entered several times, she said she had "never made it this far. It's insane and exciting. It's the top thing you want to achieve [in fashions on the field]."
Last hurrah … Jennifer Hawkins in Alex Perry for her last day as the face of Myer.Credit:AAP
"I don't ever look this dressed up [at work]. I grew up in outback Queensland so this is all very flash for me. But I have always had an interest in fashion and follow trends," she said.
Rutledge said her outfit combined elements of top-level designer with high street accessories by Mimco and The Iconic.
"I'm a bargain hunter, this is an expensive dress but the other pieces are more affordable."
Rutledge won a prize pool that included a new Lexus vehicle worth more than $50,000, Myer vouchers and other prizes.
"My [current] car is dusty and scratched … this one is not going to go to the construction site," she said.
One of the judges at the national final was Jennifer Hawkins in her last official duty as the face of Myer, a position that will be "retired" with her departure from the store after 12 years.
Wearing a floral, fitted Alex Perry dress, Hawkins said the races had provided some of her best memories of working with the store.
"I feel happy, I am in a celebratory kind of mood. I feel really calm about everything. I have had a lot of time to reflect on everything," she said.
Jackie O vibes … Laura Henshaw in the Bumble marquee. Credit:AAP
"You get to dress in these outrageous outfits and headgear and hats and you get to feel so feminine and meet amazing people.
"I love the kids and the nanas and grandpas – they're really into it. They give me cuddles; it was really warming. You still remember their faces."
While florals are mocked as being "groundbreaking" for spring, Oaks Day fashions always flip the script from bold Cup Day to more feminine shades.
Pink was a strong contender for colour of the day, with a number of celebrities including Olivia Molly Rogers, Kate Waterhouse and Gigi Connolly stepping out in shades of bubblegum, fairy floss, peony and blush. Bucking the script were Kennedy guests Nadia Fairfax, in a blue White Story jacket dress, and Montana Cox, in a golden Zimmermann minidress.
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