Style Stakes participants last year. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Not only is the Dubai World Cup the richest horse race event in the world, it is one of the most stylish as well. Hundreds of impeccably dressed men and women descend at the event every year and the stakes, literally, haven’t been bigger.

Style Stakes, the annual fashion event at the Dubai World Cup, is not just about winning or losing, but about leaving an impression.

Held at Apron Views in the Meydan Race Course, Style Stakes awards the most stylish and creative participants with five titles; best dressed lady and gentleman, best dressed couple, most creative hat and best hat.

Winning Style

This time around there are five judges looking for the most fashionable entrants, looking at various categories including style, creativity, presentation and flair. We spoke to some of the judges to find out what they would be looking for in a winner.

Tala Samman

Tala Samman, founder of one of UAE’s first blogs myfashdiary.com, has judged the event before and stands by the tried and tested way.

“We always went for people that had the right balance of standing out, without looking like they were trying very hard to stand out”, she told Gulf News tabloid!

“[The look is] all about the headpiece, but you want it to actually look good on you”, Tala commented when asked about what a fashion must-do for the event would be.

Hats, headpieces and fascinators are what the Style Stakes are all about, and judge and milliner Ana Pribylova is going to be looking for perfect combinations in the ensemble.

The designer behind the internationally awarded London label Ana Bella Millinery, Pribylova said, “I’ll be looking for the entrant who stands out for all the right reasons, is unique in race wear attire, with millinery to compliment. I know how long it takes to prepare an outfit, so I will be noticing all at the finer details of the millinery, shoes, hair and handbag that complement the outfit.”

Even if you’re not looking to win a title, it’s easy to feel under-dressed if you’re attending the world cup finals with an Apron Views ticket. Pribylova’s tip to dress easier for the day is to make sure that your handbag, hat and shoes should be one colour, while the dress should either compliment or be the same tone.

Noor Breish

Also judging this year’s event is Noor Breish, fashion director of Designer-24. About dressing for this event or for any day she has one tip for women, “Always embrace your shape! Once you know which silhouettes flatter you, filter trends ruthlessly. For instance, if you’re petite and shapely, it’s best to avoid tall columns and billowy maxis even if you love them. Go for a dress with a defined waist and just-above-the-knee hem.”

Fashion Forward

The Style Stakes will be held on March 31 at the Apron Views, Meydan Race Course. The registration for the event starts at 12pm and closes at 3.30pm.

From 3.55pm to after 6pm, winners in each category will be announced and be awarded respective titles.

Prizes for the winners include a lot of goodies in addition to the prestigious titles. The goodie bags won are worth over Dh30,000 and include shopping vouchers, tech devices, dining and staycation experiences, grooming vouchers and more.

Strict rules for participants include that hats or fascinators should be worn at all times (mandatory for ladies), hemlines must be no higher than just above the knee and dress straps should be at least an inch wide.

The other judges for the event this year are Daniel Higgins — Fashion Editor of Esquire Middle East and the bi-annual luxury fashion publication The Big Black Book and Charlotte Blair, one of the Middle East’s most sought-after stylists.