Melbourne Cup Day Fashions in the Field takes on a new look at Kembla Grange Racecourse on Tuesday.
Marketing manager Kim Pascoe said COVID-19 restrictions meant the Illawarra Turf Club couldn't bring people together in groups and regulations meant patrons needed to be in their seats when they were not watching a live race at the track or accessing one of the services.
"We can't encourage people to gather so we made a decision that we would run an online competition in conjunctions with Pamela O'Brien from Locopa Design," Ms Pascoe said.
"As patrons arrive we can grab a quick photo at the front gate as they come into the racecourse for the day."
Ms Pascoe said Fashions in the Field was being run across three meetings this year. The first was on Cox Plate day, the second will be during the Melbourne Cup and the final day to compete will be at The Gong on November 21.
"At the end of The Gong meeting we are going to publish an album on our Facebook page," she said.
"It will be up for around a week and it is going to be judged on the most likes. It is quite sad not to see all the lovely fashions on stage this year. But doing it this way means we can still showcase the best dressed men and women attending three of our race meetings at Kembla Grange."
Illawarra Turf Club chief executive officer Peter De Vries said many things were going to be different on track this Melbourne Cup Day but it was still going to be a great day for racegoers.
"We would normally expect 4500 to 5000 people out here for the Melbourne Cup, depending on the weather and other things," Mr De Vries said.
"his year with COVID restrictions we are working on the basis that inside patronage it will be one person for every 4sqm and our outside patronage being one in every 2sqm but being restricted to 300 people outside."
Some inside areas have been transformed to open up space and increase dining capacity for big meetings. These include the members dining room extension.
Get Dressed Hire's Michelle Taylor is an expert in fashion who buys garments featuring the latest season trends each year.
But that's been a challenge in 2020 as opportunities to wear new outfits have been limited by COVID-19.
Mrs Taylor said she and many others were looking forward to Melbourne Cup day as a chance to dress up and feel like life was returning to normal. However, fashion trends this year would be a little different.
"On the field we are seeing more of a box suit kind of look. That includes blazers cut nicely and pants," she said.
Mrs Taylor said as people wee getting out more, they were starting to embrace more colour.
"I have seen a lot of lilac so far and some reds as well.
"We haven't been as busy as we have in previous years but we are seeing a strong last-minute push of people coming in looking for dresses."
Mrs Taylor said The Everest was busy for her.
She said now COVID-19 was easing in Australia many designers were ramping up again and she expects to be able to start purchasing more new garments soon.
A sunny day is forecast for Kembla today with a top of 19 degrees.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.
Sign up for our newsletters for the latest news