A dig around in the archive of the great Sports Illustrated magazine throws up the following gem from June 1958…
“England’s Royal Ascot, with its green lawns and elegantly caparisoned guests in the Royal Enclosure, has always had as much the air of a Buckingham Palace garden party as of a race meeting. But not since the all-black Ascot of 1910, when every aristocratic racegoer was clad in mourning for the recently dead Edward VII, has there been such uniformity of costuming as turned up at last week’s meeting. Taking their cue from Designer Cecil Beaton’s all-black-and-white Ascot scene in My Fair Lady (Beaton got the idea from the 1910 Ascot), the fair ladies were a ‘smashing, positively dashing’ spectacle in black and white. To complete the illusion, on the day which saw Gladness, a mare owned by Philadelphian John McShain, win the Gold Cup, My Fair Lady music was piped across course and paddock.
Men in gray toppers, smart morning coats served as perfect foils for ladies in black and white.
The duchess of Argyll, once wife of American Golfer Charles Sweeny, wore white chiffon with oversize black dots.
Sir Winston Churchill was traditional in topper, individualistic in bow tie.”
The Kensington Church Street shop is on special Ascot Hours this week – open every day until Friday from 10:00a.m – 8:00p.m