Prix de Diane 2012 - Hats and Horses! (Part 1)

Whew! This is another one of those Mondays when I'm thankful that I don't have a real job. I'm exhausted and suffering from sensory overload after marveling at all of the elaborate hats at the Prix de Diane yesterday. But I wouldn't have missed a second of it because I've been looking forward to the famous horse race ever since Stéphane and I first went to Chantilly last year.

Click on photos to enlarge.

The excitement must be contagious because our friends, Heidi and Paul, are planning to join us again next June. It's quite a turn around considering the less-than-enthusiastic response that I received from Heidi shortly after informing her that their visit to Paris would coincide with the Prix de Diane:

OMG!!!! I HATE HATS!! But I love champagne… So, I guess we have to make a good Swiss compromise. Are you going to wear the same hat as last year or are you already hunting for a new model ??

I’ll need some time to get used to the idea… Love, Heidi

About two weeks later, I received another email from Heidi:

Well, about this hat… I’m still looking. If only there was a model that is elegant yet not too eye-catching, it should be simple but in the right shade of beige or brown or grey, and there’s absolutely no reason for this thing to have flowers on top! Do you think the one that I could and would wear exists??? And for Paul – he has no idea yet what’s in store for him.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Being the adventurous woman that she is, Heidi finally ended up with a hat that was remarkably similar to mine. While we may not have looked as stylish as some of the people at the Prix de Diane, Heidi, Paul, Stéphane and I were unintentionally color coordinated in black and white. I guess that's to be expected since we've been friends for such a long time!

On the way home, we started talking about our outfits for next year. Heidi's adamant that she won't wear orange or pink, but I've got an entire year to convince her!

Many thanks to Bridget for telling me that Ascot has a strict new dress code for 2012. In the royal enclosure, fascinators are no longer acceptable. The new code states: "Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of four inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat."

While I saw hats of all different colors, shapes and sizes at the Prix de Diane, some were definitely larger than others!

Click on photos to enlarge.

Additionally, women in the royal enclosure at Ascot will be expected to wear skirts or dresses of "modest length" which fall just above the knee or longer.

For men, black or grey morning dress with a waistcoat and tie are now compulsory in the royal enclosure and cravats will not be allowed.

A black or grey top hat and black shoes must also be worn.

With the exception of the socks and shoes, I think that the Parisians are following the rules for the royal enclosure at Ascot reasonably well!

Garlic, peppers, grapes and a crab!
Horses, euros and betting forms - everything you need for the racetrack.

Photo credit: Paul


  1. Wow, some fabulous fashions and gorgeous ladies and gents there! I love that red dress (I think you have the same lady from the front and the back, right?) and that sort of Edwardian couple in white. Glad you had a ball!

    1. Thanks, Gwan! If you're in Paris next June, you should really add the Prix de Diane to your "must-do" list. it's a really fun and memorable experience.

      You're right - there are two photos of the woman in red. Her dress was captivating.

      I don't remember seeing so many people in period costumes last year but there were quite a few this year. It seems that everyone was in the mood to dress up after the bad weather that we've been having.

  2. How wonderful!!! I can't believe how dressed up everyone gets! So exciting!!! I'm sure you and Heidi both looked marvelous. And the weather was absolutely perfect! Can't wait to read part II!

    1. The Prix de Diane would be the perfect place to wear one of your gorgeous long dresses. Just add a hat and you would be good to go!

  3. So many great hats! I too love the look of the couple in white, so romantic and period perfect. I also like the feather confection in pink and off white (small photo)--stunner of a hat. I say, the bigger the better, at least for the ladies.

    What hat would I wear? What clothes would I wear? I'd go all striped Asprey linen with a straw topper, so obviously I wouldn't be in the Royal Enclosure. As a side note, I used to work in a morning coat and tails in Philadelphia, every day! Had enough of that look, I prefer the modern tuxedo now--remember in season two of Downton Abbey when the tuxedo was introduced to the gentlemen?

  4. It really is "fancy dress" in the truest sense of the phrase...bloomin' marvellous!

  5. Period dress, eh? Sara and I may have to start making plans for next June! :)

  6. GORGEOUS! Especially love the Lady in white lace with the black hat and the net classic but slightly edgy. Love going to the Races too. Have had the Kentucky Derby on my bucket list for awhile (been to the Breeders a hat I embellished myself, for better or worse...!?!)
    Now, perhaps, will have to add the Prix de Diane to the list too! Thanks for another wonderful pictorial.

  7. Well Mary Kay, I am now completely intimidated for our day at Chantilly races on July 1st! Michael is thrilled because it would seem he can now wear his pink socks with the cream suit he is planning to wear. But then when we go to the Prix de L'arc de Triomphe at Longchamps, I set out feeling the bees knees and then always feel like a numpty at the side of the chic French women! LOL!.

    Some VERY smart ladies here, maybe I had better rethink my outfit!

    Love,, Denise from Bolton

  8. Reading your blog and the comments... I've just had an idea which dress I could wear next year (!). It's one that I bought for my daughter Rahel when she had a fancy ball at her school many years ago and we made a deal that she'd get it if I could wear it too, one day. Well, this day has never come because in my rather ordinary life there aren't many occasions to wear long dancing gowns. It would go well with my hat, though... the only problem is - I shouldn't put on any extra weight until June 2013! I don't think I can promise that. Anyway, it was a great day! Thank you for taking us there, Mary Kay!

  9. Fabulous photos! My favorites are the asymmetrical red dress paired with the tilted hat with the single dramatic plume, as well as the artsy blue and yellow ensemble in the first photo. The hat piled with food items gets the prize for quirkiest. I love the shot of the purple and grey spectators and shocking pink socks. It's nice to see the gents were also making bold fashion choices!

    Your hat suits you perfectly. It looks elegant and darling with the polka dot dress. Good choice!

    I would love to attend this race, mainly for the great people-watching.

  10. surprised that the menswear is so casual compared to royal ascot and the derby


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