Fashion: Ascot gets on its high horse

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The Independent Online

So much for the "death of the dress code". As the racing world descends on Ascot on Tuesday, the organisers are keener than ever to raise the stakes on female race-goers' attire, particularly in the Royal Enclosure, where new rules have been introduced to cover up overexposed decolletes and midriffs.

Ladies, we are told by the Duke of Devonshire – the Queen's representative, no less – will not be granted entry if they arrive in mini-skirts, with their shoulders bare or in non-matching trouser suits. Headgear should take the form – at the very least – of the marvellously named substantial fascinator (which roughly translates as a large bunch of feathers at a jaunty angle).

To show the fillies how to dress properly, a chic ad campaign has been shot by star milliner Philip Treacy, in which a demure model is primly clad in Alexander McQueen and, of course, one of Treacy's creations (pictured right).

For those in need of further guidance, daily fashion shows will take place at Ascot itself, showcasing work by British designers Amanda Wakeley, Matthew Williamson, Vivienne Westwood and, er, Treacy again. Westwood is an interesting inclusion, given that anyone sporting one of her signature bustiers would instantly fall foul of the new requirements.

Perhaps the establishment will have less to worry about this year anyway, thanks to the Rooney-McLoughlin nuptials. With much of the WAG population lingering on the Continent after the weekend, some of the worst potential offenders will surely be out of the running already.

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