At the Dubai World Cup 2006 nothing looked out of place. Not the bows, veils, feathers, beads, painted fruits, lace, satin ribbons and fresh flowers on headpieces, nor the fuchsia, plum, lemon and aubergine pantsuits, sundresses and cocktail dresses.

These unconventional sartorial touches only added a sense of boldness to the exquisite race-wear affair.

As expected, the perennial favourite colours like black, white and pink showed up. So did the safe brim-and-crown hats titivated with classic adornments. But it was the alternative headgear that turned heads and provided an attractive contrast to conventional fashion diktats. 

Tabloid witnessed an observable return to sophistication as fashionistas and members of the racing fraternity displayed adventurous, yet stylish race wear ensembles. As headgear took centre stage, we asked a few ladies whether their headgear for the final race day was designed around their outfit or vice-versa.

Alison Maynard, administrator
Nationality: Scottish
"I bought my hat first. I was searching for unique embellishments, and I found these pretty butterfly pins. So I decorated my outfit and hat with these. The cost of my ensemble is under Dh1,000."
Lorena Blanco, copywriter
Nationality: Spanish
"My sister, Montserrat Martin, designed my entire outfit. She wanted to capture the essence of baroque romanticism by using raw silk and ruffles on the dress, and a veil and fresh flowers on my hat."

Olga Belokrylova, model
Nationality: Russian
"I recently modelled for designer Philip Treacy and bought a creation from him. His pieces are so unique; I fell in love with this particular hat. Though I purchased the dress during the Melbourne Cup last year, it seemed perfect for this masterpiece by Philip Treacy."

Anita Gorbunova, real estate agent
Nationality: Russian
"I had a Karen Millen dress; all I had to do was find a hat to complement it. So I purchased a hat by an Australian designer from Wafi City. My shoes, which are professional dancing shoes, are the highlight of my outfit. I embellished these with Swarovski crystals. I love this event because I think it is the perfect place to find a suitor!"

Jane Head, personal trainer
Nationality: British 
"Events such as these offer the perfect opportunity to dress up. It is a chance to look good ? I bought my hat first. As I get older, I believe in the philosophy of less is more; so I selected an elegant Giorgio Armani outfit in a nude hue. I love the unusual asymmetry of the top paired with pants."    
Indriyani Mohammad, homemaker
Nationality: Indonesian
"I wear a hijab so I had to design my headgear appropriately. I decided to mix and match different pieces. I covered my head with a decorative scarf, pinned a large floral brooch and set it with feathers!"

Victoria Hewitt, cabin crew
Nationality: British
"I shopped in London, Australia and New York, but finally got my outfit [by Chloe] here in Dubai! Lace is in vogue this season so I chose to include a lace parasol and gloves. I think hats are dated; I picked a decorative hair clip to go with my outfit."

Marica Connerty, personal assistant
Nationality: British
"I'm visiting friends here in Dubai, but I made sure I had a hat to wear at the Dubai World Cup 2006. I hired it from Herald & Heart in the UK. It is red, and it is bold. The ladies in Liverpool, where I am from, are far more stylish than most women here."