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Review: J&B Met 2013

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2 to 2 February 2013

The J&B Met is a riot of colour, status and fashion. While many people attend this annual event for the horse racing, it has also become a regular calendar date to showcase individuality and style.

‘Made to Fly’ was the dress theme for 2013 – a nicely abstract idea that was open to individual interpretation. The laws of contemporary fashion were stretched and broken in gravity-defying ways.  Feathers and bird-inspired garments rubbed shoulders with women dressed as fairies, giant wings, and even a sky blue dress with fluffy white clouds. This year’s Most Elegant Couple debuted some of the most bold and brave attires created by South Africa’s icons such as the winner of the competition, designer Olga-Mare Moller as well as up-and-coming designers including Hayden Paul Demes and his ‘Fantasea’ creation. The level of talent and creativity was truly impressive, particularly Jordan Kirby, Lisa Ellen Marias and Freedom Malgas who dressed as Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Aladdin. Coral pinks, baby blues and nudes are definitely the colours of the season, along with high-low dresses and classic A-line cuts that are timeless in the world of fashion trends.

Besides the obvious emphasis on glamour and elegance, the racing was of course well worth some time and attention.  Even those without a clue could appreciate the elegance of the horses and recognize the frisson of excitement brought by their power and thunder. Betting, of course, is always an attraction and my partner and I were absurdly delighted when Unencumbered’s win in Race 5 set us an extra R20 richer. Appropriately to the dress theme, Martial Eagle was the unanticipated win of the main race, owned by Yogas Govender with jockey Aldo Domeyer.

A standard ticket for the J&B Met really is an entry level ticket and once you’ve done the rounds it is possible to feel somewhat at a loose end unless with a group. Food stalls and bars are plenty though, and those fortunate enough to gain access into the luxurious tents are well equipped with shade and a place to relax and socialise.

Parking at Kenilworth Racecourse is also to be considered: spots are few and far between and the average bay sets you back R100 – a hefty price to add to your ticket cost and expenses of the day. In order to really enjoy the affair and take full advantage of all its features, check the park and ride options, arrive early, and be prepared to spend money. Another word of advice: do not wear heels, unless you enjoy regularly sinking backwards into the soft earth.

Forewarned is forearmed.  But the J&B Met happens every year, so you’ll always have the chance to try again or enhance your experience whether you’re a rider, designer, or socialite.

Kristan Wood

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