Picture: Reuters

Nothing says timeless, understated and classic than a stylish hat or fascinator, writes Marchelle Abrahams.

The Vodacom Durban July, on at Greyville next Saturday, is one of the top style events on the South African fashion calendar. Yes, there are horse races with a massive pot prize, but what makes this event truly attractive are the beautiful people, who turn out in their finery.
At the heart of this gambling/ fashion fair is a carefully curated fashion platform.

Established designers show off their skills, while emerging or young designers are given the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

What’s unique is that the event is open to high-rolling punters, celebrities, fashionistas and mortals.

This year’s fashion theme is “It Is Time”.

Gold Circle’s event marketing manager, Ken Tweddell, explains his thoughts behind the idea.

“Every element of the race day has the aspect of time attached to it, from the time used to select the right stallion for the perfect mare, to the preparation of the perfect yearling for the sales,” said Tweddell.

Indeed, when it is time, you know.

For fashion the theme may elude to timeless garments, that are neither here nor there, always current and always desirable.

The play on time, literally, can also lead to interesting elements of design.

“I love this theme because time is so important for designers,” said fashion programme director Tiffany Prior.

“Looking at this theme, I see three words that stand out - timeless, understated, and classic.”

Hats have stood the test of time and fascinators, once perceived as a trend, have a mainstay.

If you’re looking for that little something to complete your race day ensemble, why not look to royalty for some inspiration?

Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex can do no wrong when it comes to her fashion choices. Case in point was her first official attendance at Royal Ascot this month. Dressed in a classic Givenchy shirt dress, she topped it off with a black and white Philip Treacy hat.

Picture: AP

She looked equally gorgeous while attending the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London earlier that month, sporting a dusty pink creation.

Princess Eugenie

Not one to be outdone by the latest member of the British royals, Princess Eugenie was spotted at Royal Ascot looking pretty in white with an Emily London hat.

Countess of Wessex

Also at Royal Ascot, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, opted for a light purple piece with black mesh detailing.

Picture: Reuters

Kate Middleton

If you’re a fan of fascinators, you should take your style inspiration from the Duchess of Cambridge. In 2006 she attended the marriage of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes wearing a feathery headpiece.

Picture: YouTube

Princess Beatrice

If you dare to be different, take your cue from Princess Beatrice who attended the wedding of Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly in 2008 with an assortment of butterflies adorning her locks.

Picture: YouTube screenshot

Not known for her subtle taste in garments, she shocked onlookers when she arrived at the wedding of Prince William wearing an enormous taupe monstrosity taped to her head, which spawned its own Facebook page and thousands of memes.

Picture: AP

Hat or not, there’s one style rule to abide by: “Whatever the design, make sure it’s race day appropriate and stands the test of time,” said Prior.