Fashion: Going to the dogs
On the street; You can bet a pony it's smart dress for a night at Walthamstow race track. Melanie Rickey has a flutter with Mrs Chandler and friends
Saturday 05 September 1998
"Not many tracks insist on the uniform, this one does, and I quite like it. I definitely feel dressed for the part. I check the dogs to make sure they are the right ones into the gate, and make sure they are facing the right way before raising the flag to signal to the hare driver to start the race. I'm not allowed to flutter, but I do think about who might win. I'm usually wrong. Unfortunately, I also clear out the kennels afterwards, that's where my boots come in handy."
Frances Chandler wears suit by Mondi, shirt by Betty Barclay, jewellery from Portugal, diamonds `from my late husband'.
"When my husband was alive I was always dressed in couture - I won't tell you who - but I was a well-dressed lady. Now I buy everything locally. I like Mondi and Betty Barclay and I buy a lot of shoes in Portugal where they are cheap and very good quality. I'm like Miss Ellie from Dallas. I'm a shareholder of this place, darling, my son is the chairman, and all my nieces and nephews are directors. I also bred dogs. I had one dog called Magorner Reject, she was a star. I can still spot a winner."
Joseph O'Gorman bookmaker, wears suit by Cerruti, shirt by Yves Saint Laurent, tie by M&S. "I'm a bookmaker, but I can ticktack, I was brought up the proper way. Some of the bookies dress scruffy to fit in, but I dress like this to attract the bigger punter. You've got to look the part, and you don't want to alienate the big spenders. I was at Sandown today and I won. I made pounds 7,000. There's only four grand here. I probably lost the most money tonight, I just had to pay out two grand. I'm unhappy because my Dad's away and I wanted to show a healthy profit for when he got back."
Mario Lanfranchi owner, wears jacket by Adolfo Dominguez, from Spain, hat by Borsalino, from Italy, tie from Paris, shirt from Jermyn Street.
"I travel all the time, it is like a disease, and I buy my clothes all over the world. Adolfo Dominguez is my favourite designer. Armani is too classical for me. Tomorrow I go to Milan, I have a house there and an apartment in London. I have several racing dogs and five racehorses. All my dogs' and horses' names are pre- fixed with `El'. Tonight El Loco won. My other trademark is my hat, I have 50 and always wear one - people wouldn't recognise me otherwise."
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