2016 Flemington Birdcage Reveal

Ah the Birdcage at Melbourne’s Flemington racetrack, a hallowed sanctum behind a whopping big fence where strange and fantastical capers run afoot.

The Birdcage’s totes ridic marquees are a thing of mystery for those peeping over hoping to see what’s what, and an utter genteel indulgence for those lucky enough to be invited. The enclosure is a place where, simply, corporate marquees entertain guests, celebrities and politicians. They leave no stone unturned to do so, however, which means they are total luxe heaven to be in for the day. Think delicious food, fine wine and champagne served by attentive staff while surrounded by sumptuously dressed people. Yes please!

If you’ve not secured an invite to one of these trackside temples, fear-not dear readers! – for I’ve peeked behind the scenes and have the low-down on all the marquee rumpus that will unfold during the Spring Racing carnival.

Oh and… there’s a pool. In a marquee. With a musclebound Frenchman in it.

Behold.

Lavazza Marquee

Crystal chandeliers, terracotta flooring and a 360 degree view of Milan’s Galleria – this is what guests will enjoy this year at Lavazza.

Neale Whitaker, of Vogue Living, designed the space and told me, “My inspiration for the marquee comes from Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is possibly the world’s most beautiful shopping mall. The Galleria is the heart and soul of the city.”

It will be 15 years at Flemington for Lavazza, and just in case you didn’t score an invite to the Birdcage, racegoers will be able to enjoy complimentary cups of Lavazza Prontissimo! from roaming waiters around the racecourse. Prego!

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Bec Hewitt, who’s a special guest of the Lavazza marquee this year

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Acclaimed chef Adam D’Sylva from Melbourne restaurants Coda and Tonka has created the menu

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

What I’m wearing: Dress from ZARA, Schutz heels from REVOLVE, necklace and earrings by Elizabeth Cole from REVOLVE

Inside the Lavazza Marquee at the Birdcage

Designed by Neale Whitaker and inspired by Milan’s Galleria, the marquee features Tom Dixon chandeliers, traditional terracotta flooring and a 360 degree photographic view of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with the walls and ceiling of the marquee replicating the Italian mid-century building.

 

Mumm Marquee

A musclebound Frenchman cavorting in a pool to dirty house surrounded by hot models. There’s more, of course, but do I need to explain any further?

Inside the Mumm Marquee at the Birdcage

The Mumm marquee has really gone all-out this year. This is Rosé Soleil MC, Monsieur Romeo. In a pool. In a marquee.

Inside the Mumm Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Mumm Marquee at the Birdcage

 

Lexus Marquee

Also known as the Lexus Design Pavilion, designer Joost Bakker is back again and this year has built a three-story marquee made from recycled concrete and cardboard.  The imposing centrally-located marquee is a grand structure made with sustainability in mind.

The bottom line for Lexus is this: Three top line restaurants in one marquee! That’s right folks, this year at Lexus you enter on the ground floor and are promptly seduced by tasty treats and cocktails by Mr Miyagi. Upstairs, in the middle, Hobart’s David Moyle, of Franklin fame, convenes a 44-seat restaurant. Another set of stairs takes you up into the cosmos, with top of the tree food-making genius, Attica’s Ben Shewry, presenting the best food you can get at a racetrack, anywhere in the world.

If Lexus want to add a fourth floor any time in the future, they’ll have to reanimate Escoffier himself.

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Cocktails and canapes will be served on the ground floor by Melbourne restaurant, Mr Miyagi.

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Joost Bakker has designed the brand new Lexus Design Pavilion structure in recycled concrete. The structure is modular and can be reused and set-up in various formats. He grew fields of white peonies especially for the interior.

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

David Moyle’s ‘Franklin’ restaurant are up on the 2nd floor. This is apple cider-poached pork neck.

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

The dining room on level two accommodates about 44 people per sitting. Places are booked on a first-in, first-served basis. It’s been known for people to arrive at the marquee first thing in the morning to reserve a place.

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Port Phillip scallops prepared by Ben Shewry of Attica

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

Superb matzo ball tart by the team from Attica

Inside the Lexus Marquee at the Birdcage

The imposing 3-story Lexus marquee exterior

 

Wolfblass Marquee

This year’s marquee has been designed and painted by artist David Bromley. Think about that for a moment – he’s spent the past week toiling away on the interior and exterior of the marquee, literally creating a piece of artwork out of the structure itself.

Having recently launched a collaboration with Wolfblass in the form of a limited-edition range of wines, the marquee has David’s touch all over it; from the walls painted in floral and butterfly motifs, to the cedar bar that stretches five-metres long. Guests will be treated to ‘A Brush With Keys,’ a musical collaboration with Brian Cadd who will be performing while Bromley paints. If you’re lucky enough to have an invite, you’ll be able to experience a deck overlooking the mounting yard, and be served Wolfblass wines and fine food all day.

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

Musician Brian Cadd sings while artist David Bromley paints

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

With Chris Hatcher, chief wine maker at Wolfblass and musician Brian Cadd

Inside the Wolfblass Marquee at the Birdcage

Artist David Bromley who has painted the exterior and interior of the Wolfblass marquee

 

Emirates Marquee

To mark their 20-years milestone operating in Australia, Emirates has aptly announced Australia as the theme of its highly anticipated Birdcage marquee this year.

Often referred to as the marquee where everyone wants to be, Emirates is lauded as the best, and for good reason. Aside from the fact it’s the only marquee with plumbed-in toilets, it features a large deck directly opposite the racecourse with uninterrupted views of the racing action.

Emirates has collaborated with Head Designer of Bazmark Inq, Silvana Azzi Heras, to create a classic Australian homestead. Strewth!

Guests will be greeted by a towering 4m gumtree in the centre of the marquee surrounded by 1930s-inspired Australian Art-Deco furnishings. A contemporary dance troupe will perform indigenous-inspired dance routines throughout the carnival accompanied by didgeridoo maestro, Stan Yarramunua. And – be still my beating heart! – Autore pearls have a display cabinet featuring the most beautiful South-Pacific jewels you will ever see.

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Developed by Wolgan Valley One&Only Executive Chef Nancy Kinchella, dishes provided for guests will include an Adelaide-inspired citrus-cured South Australian kingfish, finger lime pearls and salmon caviar and Melbourne-inspired Victorian Lamb loin with sheep’s yoghurt and cumin-scented jus. Lobster will be cooked on the bbq and served on the terrace overlooking the racecourse

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

The Parlour, featuring Joey Scandizzo (Joey Scandizzo Salon) and Lara Srokowski (National Make-up Director for Lancôme). What luxury!

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

The Lancome Beauty Room

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Just casually wearing a couple hundred grands worth of diamonds and Autore pearls, as one does

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Autore Group, one of the world’s largest South Sea pearl companies, will offer guests the chance to sample pearl meat, a rare and prized seafood served in pearl shells sourced from the crystal waters off the north west coast of WA. A stunning collection of pearls, opals and diamonds will also be on display, just like this mind-blowing necklace.

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Emirates Marquee at the Birdcage

 

Sensis Marquee

Sensis have replaced the Swiss marquee this year and are landing with a technology-laden bang.

The facade of the marquee is lit up with digital screens showing just what is happening inside the marquee, and screens inside the marquee will not only show the races, but also a social feed of the hashtag #sensismarquee where guests will be able to see their Instagram pictures projected onto the walls.

Alongside this, artist Jess Bush will be painting a progressive art-work on the walls over the course of the carnival, which will compliment the changing decor of each day – starting with a black and white pallette on Derby Day, then getting more colorful for Oaks Day.

Samantha Jade is this year’s social ambassador and guests will be treated to her performances on key race days.
Inside the Sensis Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Sensis Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Sensis Marquee at the Birdcage

Inside the Sensis Marquee at the Birdcage

 

It’s the marquee life for Lady Melbourne this week folks. It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it. I’ll bring you much, much more as the Spring Racing carnival plays out.

Now, has anyone got any tips? Seriously, hit me up with sure things in the comments section! I haven’t won since Green Moon came in at 20-1 back in 2012!

Lady loves you x

  • Kate

    I hope you had a winner!

  • It seems all sooo yummy! You look very gorgeous, love the dress and the heels!

  • Thanks Jenet and OMG they sure are!!

  • So beautiful and you looked stunning Phoebe! Those pearls are to die for xx