Fashion Friday – Meet the Incredible, Millinery by Mel

What a privilege it is to bring to you a Milliner who has taken  fashions  on the field by storm – the talented Mininery by Mel.  Here is her story brought to you by Thoroughbred Events Australia.

Take it away, Mel ….

A little about me:

My full name is Melanie Atherinos and I am the owner, designer and the creative hands behind my Millinery label – Millinery By Mel.

I have always been a very creative person that loves everything pretty and matching, so millinery is the perfect profession for me.  I have been very fortunate in my life to have had many opportunities and diverse career paths. After leaving school I studies Child Care where I worked for 6 years on the Sunshine Coast before moving to Mount Isa and being given the opportunity to study Marketing and take up the position as Events and Marketing Manager for a large Hospitality venue in the town. After having my son, I was started my own ‘work from home’ business specialising in Costumes and Event decorating.
After several year my husband and I decided a change was needed and we bought a caravan, packed up our family and started on our next adventure of seeing more of this wonderful country we live in.  We spent 3 years travelling around but then decided to return to Mount Isa when our son turned 8 as he wanted a ‘normal’ life again.  Outside of millinery my interest include camping, gardening, anything creative.

A little about my business:  Millinery By Mel

My business is Me, myself and I…. It started as a hobby and with the help of Social Media and the internet, it is now a full time plus business that sends fascinators both nationally and internationally.  In the last month, I have had a dramatic increase in the amount of international sales and I have been sending many designs to countries such as United state, Italy, China, New Zealand, Ireland, England and even Dubai.

Are you from a horse racing family or a fashion family background ?

No – not from either
Before starting to make Millinery, I had only ever been to 1 country race meet and wore a fascinator that I bought off Ebay and stuck a few extra feathers on to match my outfit.
I have ridden a horse once and decided it was better (and safer) for me to admire them in the paddocks. I am fortunate to live only 500m from our towns horse paddocks so I enjoy walking each day with my dog through the paddocks.
My favourite race meets now and definitely the Outback Country Races, you get to meet so many people from all different places and is wonderful to see the effort the ladies from the Stations go to when dressing up.
My greatest fashion belief is that you should always wear what you feel comfortable in – if you don’t feel confident and comfortable in what you are wearing – your true beauty will not shine through.

Have you Always lived in Mount Isa?

I was born in Cowra NSW where I lived for a couple of years before my family moved to the Sunshine Coast where I completed all my school and lived till I was 22. I then moved to Mount Isa for a change of scenery. I have called Mount Isa home for the past 17 years. I love living in the Outback and at this stage have no plans to leave.

Are you single or married with a small family?

I have a small beautiful family consisting of my husband, 12 year old son and a 22 year old stepson. I also come from a small family with only 1 sister. My mum lives in Mount Isa also and is often found helping out in my studio.

My family is my greatest support and fans – followed by my friends. Without these special people in my life I would never achieve my many great successes.
As much as my son says tracing leather leaves and flowers is ‘boring’ he always fronts up to the studio to help when needed. My husband steps in and is a fantastic ‘Mr Mum’ during the busy times and keep the household functioning when I am working long hours.
When did you discover your passion for millinery.
After travelling, I returned to my job as a Marketing Manager and I decided that in my spare time I needed something creative to do. So, I bought a few Millinery supplies from online… little did I know where that first fascinator would lead me to.
For 12 months I continued working as well as making Millinery in my spare time, however the demands of my business became to great and I chose to quit my job and take up millinery full time. Since then I haven’t looked back and I just keep getting busier and busier.
Initially my work space was a table beside my bed in our bedroom, it then took over the spare room and now rent a 2 bedroom unit that is home to the expanding Millinery By Mel Studio.
Did you study or are you self taught?
Learning millinery skills has been a lot of trial and error as well as completing online training through Hat academy. Unfortunately, due to living in Outback Queensland, it can get very expensive and difficult to attend training held on the coast however I was fortunate attend a few workshops including learn skills from Carole Maher and will also be flying to Melbourne later in the year to attend a Louise MacDonald Workshop.
I do look forward to in the future completing further studies and training with well know milliners in the industry. I do not claim to be a Milliner rather just a designer of beautiful headwear, one day my goal is to complete studies in Fashion and Millinery, however at this stage I am enjoying what I am doing.
My favourite material to work with is leather, I love the many ways it can be used and the fact that is it tran-seasonal and can be worn at any time of the year.

The most unique designs I have ever had to make were for a hairdresser for hair shows and were made from many hair extensions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1541132825633-1546ded4-abeb-6″ include=”6246,6245″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Have you been to Melbourne Cup?

In 2016 I attended Melbourne Cup for the first time – we went on a P&O cruise from Brisbane to Melbourne. We had a lovely time in the Home Straight Marquee however this meant we didn’t get to see a lot of the fashion and festivities that Melbourne Cup is renowned for. I hope to make my way back there one day with friends to experience the full week of racing and fashion.

My dream to achieve
To be completely honest – I think I am living my dream (ok maybe my dream has a few more hours sleep in it. LOL)

As I always say…. If you find a job doing something you love, you will never work another day in your life.
This pretty much sums me up, every day I get to go to work and be  paid to create beautiful designs. I am so fortunate to work with a large number of lovely ladies who truly appreciate and praise my efforts. It is so rewarding to receive the glamourous photos of the my clients dressed up for Race days.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1541132825643-529b50d6-bfbe-3″ include=”6248,6251″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1541132825664-f0bdf9db-2607-1″ include=”6252,6250″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Fashion Friday – What our Kiersten Duke wore on Epsom Day

Epsom Day, a day that should be in any avid race goers diary as Royal Randwick hosts one of the most prestigious days in the Spring Racing Carnival calendar.  The TAB Epsom Handicap is a race held over 1600 metres and is worth a jaw dropping $1,000,000!  The day itself is worth $3,835,000 in prize money and includes three group 1 races, two group 2 races, two groups 3 races, one listed race and a benchmark 88 sprint which attracts some of the best trainers, jockeys and horses from around the globe.

Our Kiersten headed to Royal Randwick and here is her personal race day experience.

As the day arrived the sun was shining and despite the wind, it was a relatively pleasant day- although the breeze did leave me feeling grateful that my dress had long sleeves!  

The first part of my outfit that I bought was the dress.  Straight away the baby boy blue colour covered in pink and yellow floral print caught my eye.  Admittedly, I would usually aim to wear something a little longer in length to the races (something I’ve learnt as I’ve grown older) but the high neck design complete with ruffles and pleats sucked me in- how was I supposed to resist?!

The extra lining and light, breathable material of this dress made it beyond comfortable to wear and I would highly recommend it to anyone I know!

BRAND: Unique21
COST: $54.16 AUD (30 GBP)

I was lucky that the floral print had so many pretty Spring colours in it, which made finding accessories to match extremely easy.  So to help me decide which colours to pick out, I contacted Tenaea Ljilja who owns and runs Pink Lily Millinery (Instagram @pinklilymillinery) with a photo of my newly purchased dress.  I chose Tenaea to help me as all her designs are handmade and cost under $200!  Beauty that won’t break the bank!

Tenaea decided to bring out the blush baby pink colour in the dress and made that her base colour when designing the millinery before adding yellow and white detailing in the flowers on the side of the hat.  As the piece was being designed for the Spring Carnival I wanted to incorporate lighter fabrics that would be suitable for the warmer weather.  Being a complete professional, Tenaea read my mind and the whole millinery piece was made from a blend of straw, silk and cotton.

BRAND:  Pink Lily Millinery
COST: $150 AUD

With my dress and millinery purchased and matching, I felt like the harder decisions had been made and all that was left was to find some matching accessories to complete my outfit.

For accessories, my go-to places are always the same… Lovisa Jewellery (AUS), Primark (UK, IRE), Addison Road (AUS, USA, UK, NZ), Colette by Colette Hayman (AUS) and Boohoo (Worldwide).

As per, they didn’t disappoint and I managed to find everything I needed within the first three shops I visited- winning!

Blush/dusty pink earrings with baby pink jewels and gold metal detailing.
BRAND:  Primark

Natural blush clutch bag with gold metal details.
BRAND:  Colette by Colette Hayman
COST:  $29.99 AUD

Queens Park Skinny Pink Patent Leather Belt with Gold Buckle in size XS to fit my waist.
BRAND:  Addison Road
COST:  $39.00 AUD

EXCLUSIVE OFFER!  Use code KIERSTEN30 with Addison Road to get 30% off any purchases store wide!

In typical ‘Kiersten’ style, I only realised the afternoon before the race meeting that I had left my light pink heels back in the UK.  This meant only one thing- last minute panic shopping with your bestie! (Mini shout-out to Abiee for supporting me through out this stressful time)

After frantically tapping away online I discovered my local Target had a pair of heels in the perfect colour- how about that for luck!

Although I usually find a block heel a little ‘clumpy’ looking, I was grateful that the heels were low, as I anticipated I would be on my feet for the majority of the day (which I was).

BRAND:  Target
COST:  $35.00 AUD

I loved the colour of these shoes and the height of the heel was perfect for all-day wear but unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend them as they gave me blisters on both feet.  Luckily, on the day I had remembered to bring plasters with me so no harm was done but due to this I definitely wouldn’t purchase them again.

Tips, tricks and what I’ve learnt so far…

– Keep it classy ladies!  The races are an elegant event that doesn’t require mini skirts and cleavage displays!  Wear what you would see as suitable for a wedding and you can’t go far wrong.
Tip:  Keep your dress knee length or longer

–  Millinery should be made out of appropriate materials depending on the season.  Play it safe with lace and leather as they are trans-seasonal.

–  It’s not appropriate to take your heels off half way through the day so opt for low heels that are comfortable.

–  Keep your hair and make up simple.  Keep the big smokey eyes for the clubs but can always put on a pair of false eyelashes to add emphasis to your eyes.  As for your hair, you never know how windy it’s going to be so I would recommend a simple updo or pony tail to keep it out of your face and the attention on your millinery (I learnt that tip the hard way!- your hair stuck to your lip gloss isn’t a cute look!).

– Match your nail polish to your outfit or opt for a clean, fresh natural manicure.

– Closed in court style shoes always look great in Autumn and Winter, however in the warmer seasons feel free to let your freshly painted toes breathe in a pair of cute strappy heels.

–  Last but not least, know your colour palette.  Bright and pastel colours always look great throughout Spring and Summer where as navy, burgundy and more earthy colours suit Autumn and Winter looks.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, I hope you found
a useful tip for next time you visit the races.  I’m lucky and extremely grateful to have Sharon to guide me with my style, but for those of you that don’t have a Sharon in your life then please stay tuned as return with another ‘What I Wore’ post including some more tips and tricks after The Everest race day!

Fashion Friday – Embellish Atelier

Introducing Embellish Atelier, home of Award winning Milliner Catherine Kelly – located at 128 Victoria Rd, Rozelle, NSW. 

Catherine produces couture millinery of fine craftsmanship using luxurious textiles. Designing headpieces to reflect your personality, attire and occasion.

Not only designing but also teaching the traditional millinery techniques as well as beading, silk-flower making and leatherwork. Taking pride in creating all her own trims.

Not stopping there, Catherine also has a small selection of hire hats and undertakes repairs.

Make sure when attending our event on Sunday 16 September you visit Catherine and see her amazing couture pieces.

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Fashion Friday – New Talent – Natalie Edmonds Millinery

It is so exciting meeting new up and coming milliners and seeing their take on millinery.  With new milliners comes new ideas and today we would love to introduce you to Natalie Edmonds.

Natalie has been learning millinery since 2010 as she has a natural flare for creating and this would help build on her existing textiles and design skills.  Natalie said millinery was challenging and rewarding and there are always something new to learn.  “I’m always researching new styles, ideas, trends and enjoy following the domestic and international fashion houses to see how I can use my talent to suit my client needs.  Millinery also brings peace and order to my often crazy schedule.”

Natalie has participated in workshops with both domestic and international award-winning milliners as she loves building on her skill set and learning new techniques.  Her love has developed for specialising in race day headwear but is enjoying special pieces for mother of the bride/groom, cocktail parties and special functions.

It is with pride that Natalie is working hard for her first Spring/Summer collection to be released at the Thoroughbred Events’ Spring Racing Luncheon ‘exclusively”.  Her main focus is to produce designs and styles that will suit everyone – using beautiful Spring colours to enhance her millinery.

When it comes to making a headpiece Natalie is very much mood orientated.  “Sometimes I’m fascinated by a particular colour, fabric or texture or I will see a shape that I just want to block,” she said.

“I just let myself be guided by the process and enjoy blocking and making trims as I go, sometimes my original idea never eventuates and I end up with something far more magical- which is always rewarding.”

We are all be cheering Natalie on as she showcases for the first time.  Our guests are in a real treat.  Good luck Natalie and continue working on your dream!!!

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Fashion Friday – Julie Lynch Millinery

Wow – when it comes to seeing Kate strut the stage in fashions on the fields, we are always taken away on the beauty of her headpiece.
How lucky is Kate to have Julie Lynch Millinery at her disposal seeing it is her mum.
Julie has amazing ideas.  She focusing on attention to detail and is outstanding on creating such individuality.
So excited to see Julie back at our event on Sunday 16 September.  Make sure you visit her area and have a chat.  Julie is one of the loveliest woman in racing who assists her daughter in fashions on the field.
We wish her and Kate much more success but a huge thank you for always showcasing such amazing headpieces for us to admire.

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Photo credits to Julie Lynch

Fashion Friday – Kylie Heagney hits Sydney

We are so excited to be welcoming Kylie Heagney to our Spring Racing Luncheon.

Kylie is a Brisbane based Milliner who creates stunning headwear using the finest materials sourced from around the world. Her hats and headpieces are beautifully made with fine attention to detail.

Her millinery has featured in numerous fashion events including the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane and Fashion on the Field events both locally and interstate. Kylie is from a racing family and this is where her passion for beautiful and unique headwear began.

After relocating from Melbourne to Brisbane Kylie decided to pursue studies in Millinery completing her qualifications in Cert II – Cert IV at MSIT, as well as attending various workshops and the hats off to Brisbane Millinery forum. This has given Kylie the skills to combine traditional and modern techniques whilst giving her pieces a unique touch.

And on Sunday 16 September, Sydneysiders have the opportunity to not only see Kylie’s wonderful work but meet her and talk to Kylie about her work and perhaps your style!!!!!

Tickets are on sale now.


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Fashion Friday – Let’s Talk Spring

Short and sweet today.

Fashion Friday is about getting your thoughts around Spring.  Our Spring events went up this week so in order to start planning, the first question is – “What are this year’s Spring Colours?”.

Always a good place to start.  Once you know the colours, you can go to your wardrobe and see if you have anything at all in there. .Of course we all need at least 1 new outfit but if there is a piece in your wardrobe in one of these colours, have a think on how you can make use of it.

By the time you get to our Spring event, you are good to go concentrating on what headpiece will “Work” in your wardrobe.

So here is this year’s Spring colour palette

Time to start planning!!!!!


Fashion Friday – Top Line-Up of Milliners Secured for Spring

While it is chilly outside, Thoroughbred Events Australia have been busy securing an amazing line-up of Milliners for their spring event.

Autumn 2018 Milliners

In what was the quickest response to date, all Milliners have been secured for our next event.  You will get to know all these Milliners over the coming weeks.

The venue is also confirmed and we are pleased that the Tattersalls Club are on board again for this exclusive luncheon.  With stunning huge windows overlooking Hyde Park and exquisite decor, this venue is ideal for TEA guests due to such grandeur.  With only a maximum of 80 seats, it will be open to regular attendees first then the public.

Each Milliner brings something new and exciting for Spring.  Between all the Milliners confirmed, you cannot count the number of awards won in total.  So at this event, it will be the people’s choice that will crown this year’s Milliner for Spring 2018 at The Spring Racing Luncheon.

Winner – Kerry McGlone – 2018 Autumn Millinery Award

Tickets will go on sale Monday 9 July for attendees who have previously attended, then to the public on Monday 16 July.

With french champagne being served while viewing the Millinery on arrival, this event most certainly is fit for a Queen.

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Fashion Friday – Fashion Hits Parliament NSW

What an amazing accomplishment for Thoroughbred Events Australia to be acknowledged in Parliament.

On 17 May, MICHAEL JOHNSEN MP, Member for the Upper Hunter acknowledged the sponsors who have so generously given to ensure Fashions on the Field at Scone Cup Carnival was a major success.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5560″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This is also an extremely proud moment for Sharon Lenton owner of Thoroughbred Events Australia who was also present on the night. Mr Johnsen mentions her passion for fashion but also her strong drive towards sponsorship for off-the-track thoroughbreds which both bring her to the Upper Hunter.
Today this is to acknowledge all the sponsors who had kindly contributed in making Scone Cup Carnival one of the richest pools in NSW. At the moment, the Upper Hunter is under drought which puts pressure for small businesses to survive – but that they have all done. We would like to mention every business and thank them all personally.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1528458096502-40b0cfea-28af-10″ include=”5561,5588,5589″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_tabs][vc_column_text]

How wonderful for every business in the Upper Hunter to have received a Parliament NSW folder (that is so beautifully embossed in gold) personally signed by Michael Johnsen MP for their support:
General Surf Co, Scone
The Herd Store, Scone
Belmore Hotel, Scone
The Remington Motor Inn, Muswellbrook
Asser House Café, Scone
Victoria’s Hair & Beauty Scone
Stillpoint Equine Scone
Chocolate & Moss flowers, Scone
Caffe Mobilita, Scone
Ruby’s girls, Scone
Kodak Express Scone Camera Centre
Double Picc Café Muswellbrook
A personalised folder will also being going to Barbara Wenman of La Fleur D’Alyse, Sydney who has continually supported the Upper Hunter for approx. 5 years and has given generously.[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_section tab_id=”1528456470057-d1b61a72-2822″][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1528458096507-624f4420-f50f-2″ include=”5554,5555,5556″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Other businesses mentioned who are outside of the Upper Hunter are:
Emirates Airline
Helloworld Scone
Australian Turf Club, Randwick
Lauder Taylor Milliner, Victoria
North Sydney Harbourview Hotel
Julie Herbert Millinery, Orange
Ava Jaxon, Victoria
Hanley Hats Millinery, Newcastle
Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, Sydney
We would also like to congratulate all the social media that went into frenzy over the fashions on the field over the 2 days. We too agree that all eyes were definitely on the Upper Hunter prior, during and after the carnival.
While the weather was not kind this year, it was noted the increase in men competing this year and the women competing was nothing but breathtaking.
This year’s fashion winners were:
Friday: Best Dressed Man – Pedro Souerwald, Best Dressed Local – Marili Lepiku, Best Contemporary – Claire Hanrahan, Best Dressed – Jess Thei
Saturday: Best Dressed Man – James Berle, Best Dressed Local – Anne Carter, Best Contemporary – Monique Morley, Best Dressed – Jess Thei
All the names of the winners over the two days were put into a box and also returned to the stage where Julie Leckie from Helloworld Scone pulled out  overall  winning name. This year, the winner of the business class package flying Emirates Airline with land package from Helloworld was won by Jess Thei. Jess took back to Sydney more than $10,500 out of the $18,000 in the overall prizes value. How wonderful.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_masonry_media_grid element_width=”3″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1528458096511-bbb4527c-bc9a-4″ include=”5583,5581,5580,5579,5569,5568,5567,5566,5565,5564″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Thoroughbred Events Australia would personally like to send sincere gratitude to this year’s Ambassador of the Scone Cup Carnival – Andrea Baker. Andrea is the wife of one of Sydney’s leading horse trainers, Bjorn Baker. Also to our two fashion judges Dimity Smith and Brock Cross who have both won numerous fashions on the field competitions and did a were a great choice to get the job done.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1528458096522-c42a5c54-3bbb-6″ include=”5595,5596,5597″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]To Scone Race Club, it has been a pleasure hosting your fashions on the field for the last 5 years. We would like to sincerely thank Sarah Wills who initially appointed us and trusted us to build the fashions profile. Today the new CEO Heath Courtney has stepped in and is on his way with his vision for Scone Race Club to further build as one of the most prestigious Country Race Club in NSW.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid gap=”4″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1528458096525-caffdc06-4fee-6″ include=”5575,5599,5600,5601″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Fashion Friday – Showjumping Style at Sydney International Horse Trials 29-04-18

Sun, good company and horses, what better way is there to spend a Sunday?! On the 29th April I was lucky enough to be invited to represent The Thoroughbred Club (TTC) at the Sydney International Horse Trials.  After being briefed by Sharon Lenton (founding director of Thoroughbred Events Australia) on the award I would be presenting, (the highest performing ex racehorse in the 3* showjumping class) I set to work on preparing for the day.

How did I want to record the day? Who would be there?  Did I need a helper on the day?  But mostly, WHAT DO I WEAR?!

To represent Thoroughbred Events Australia and The Thoroughbred Club is an honour and I wanted to present myself in the best way possible. This meant, getting the outfit RIGHT.

My 3 main needs/wants were that the outfit was practical (I would be on my feet for most of the day), was on a budget (I’m on a tight budget since coming back from my holiday in Dubai!) and that it was respectful/modest… after all I’m representing a company I care for a lot and it has a reputation to uphold.

After flicking through some photos of previous years and chatting to some friends, this is the outfit that ticked all the boxes…

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Words by Kiersten Duke
Photos by Jasminia Gough