Zara Tindall Attends Aussie Raceday

Zara Tindall is again beginning the New Year as ambassador for the Jeep Magic Millions Raceday on Australia’s Gold Coast. She and husband Mike took part in a photocall on Friday that saw her in large pink saucer hat with elaborate feather trim. It’s a great hat for the races that paired well with her pink lace dress.




Meg Rafter Millinery

Designer: Meg Rafter Millinery. It is the “Coral sinamay cocktail hat with silk flowers and coque feathers”
Previously Worn: this hat is new

For the main event yesterday, which sees nine races run at the Gold Coast Turf Club, Zara topped her white frock with a show stopping cocktail hat. Centred on a bubble base printed with a graphic black, green and white checker board pattern, the gravity defying design is trimmed by three tall, vertically placed feathers. It’s a very bold piece that that well fits the tone of this particular event but also works for Zara, thanks to restrained styling of the rest of her ensemble. The structure of the hat is a millinery marvel of its own- I’m left loving it because it’s unique, interesting, creative and simply unlike anything we’ve seen on a royal head before.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Meg Rafter Millinery

Designer: Meg Rafter Millinery. It is the “Navy, Green and White Silk and Sinamay Headpiece with Turkey Feathers”
Previously Worn: this hat is new
I imagine my love of the checkerboard hat won’t be shared by all of you- if you’re not a fan, I’m curious to hear precisely why!
Photos from Richard Gosling. Meg Rafter Millinery and Getty as indicated

29 thoughts on “Zara Tindall Attends Aussie Raceday

  1. Not reading other comments before posting (don’t want to be swayed): Love both hats in terms of their occasion, but the pink feathery hat is the only one I’d like to see repeated. The ‘bubble’ hat is a great nod to jockey silks but only looks terrific from the front and then it’s terrific and a little bit weird. The feathered hat is very sweet and something a little different for Zara in that regard. She wears both very well (and I love her shoes with the bubble hat).

  2. Perhaps it should be mentioned that the glorious horse in the photos is wearing a festive blue and white modified head which well compliments the hair and complexion! Also the most attractive creature in the photos!!!

  3. I like both of these. The pink is pretty and the other is zany and fun. What makes both of these work so well is the attractive woman wearing them with her winning smile. Zara reminds me of Queen Maxima in that regard. Hair might be off, outfit might be off, hat might be off, but all is forgiven when we see that engaging personality shining through the radiant smile. Zara and her husband make a good team. They obviously worked on their outfits together to great effect. Did you all notice his shoes with the blue suit? Or are they boots?

  4. I have to say I am not a fan of either of these hats. The pink hat while it is pretty with the lacy dress the whole look doesn’t fit Zara’s personality and usual style. The style of the lacy pink says delicate which is not Zara to me. She seems like a more bold, confident person. As to the checkerboard hat (I am loosely calling it a hat) I like the bold colors and pattern and it goes great with the simple, clean lines of the white dress but it is not a hat. I personally will be glad when these gravity defying fascinators go out of fashion. They are simply not hats but instead they are wild, large headbands!

  5. Omg, I like be both of these looks! The pink hat is great, interesting but so perfect for the races and so lovely paired with (fabulously non-cloying) pink lace dress. And I love the bold graphic saucer. The colors pattern and structure in the feathers are great. And definitely wise to pair it with a simple dress. My only quibble is how it attaches to her head. I’m not sure there’s a better way, but the black headband and frame aren’t particularly flattering. Oh well what a successful pair of looks!!

  6. The pink hat is very pretty. The checkerboard is just not my cup of tea. (Love JamesB use of “scaffolding” to describe its anchoring.)
    And, kudos to the Tindalls for returning to the public eye so soon after their personal loss.

  7. Mrs. Tindall’s two costurmes are like night and day. The pink hat is perfection in line and scale, and suits the lady (and her dress) just as perfectly in color and shape. The frock is perfectly fitted, well matched to the hat, and very flattering to its wearer–very appealing. On the other hand: the white dress is poorly fitted and unflattering. The hat: very awkward, and to me, clumsy, overly intense. (Perhaps, as one commenter remarked, the head band should have been a lighter color, but to me, this hat gives no quarter–we can’t look for subtlety of any kind here.). However, Mrs. Tindall looks as if she is having a very good time inthis hat, and that, of course, is one reason we wear them. Good for her!

  8. We rarely see Zara in pink, which is so flattering for her. Pretty hat and ensemble.

    I appreciate the fun of the bold checkered hat, but not the bolted-to-the-forehead style or the shape. Bristol put it perfectly: “bloated pincushion.” What is the significance of the color and pattern — something to do with her horse?

  9. Two stunning looks for Zara (and Mike)!

    The pink is a beautiful disc piece and the feather detailing is done very well; it is much better than the sculptural headbands worn by the other women (which has apparently been a popular trend in Australian millinery over the last year, but I’m not a fan). I also love her dress. My complaint is these photos seem a little washed out and we can’t fully admire this ensemble because of that. Also, I wish Mike hadn’t buttoned his jacket so we can fully appreciate his three piece suit (and I’m left wondering what shoes he was wearing haha).

    Moving on to the actual races, I really overall love this percher cocktail hat for Zara. The colors are beautiful and it’s just zany enough to be fun, but not overdone, which suits Zara perfectly. My only complaint is that because it’s at such a high angle, it’s a little too sculptural for my tastes; I would prefer it to be more like a regular cocktail hat with the base sitting more on her head. Also, Zara’s shoes are to die for! Finally, this is another great look for Mike; while I’m not normally a fan of color-coordinating couples, this isn’t too matchy, and Mike’s attention to details with a great pocket square and shoes is awesome (even though Mike isn’t wearing a hat, I thought his sartorial wins deserved some notice too).

    • The top photo appears ‘washed out’ because the photographer has used ‘fill-in flash’ to compensate for the bright sunshine casting shadows across faces – plus Zara’s hat will also have been putting her face into shadow. Taking photos in the middle of a bright day in summer in the southern hemisphere doesn’t offer many options, I’m afraid. The photographer may possibly have been using white discs of cloth to bounce a flash back on to the subjects so the light penetrated under her hat brim but wasn’t so direct as a front-on flash. If you’re considerate of your subjects you won’t have them looking directly into the sun to avoid them squinting, but sometimes it can’t be helped I think the top photos are amazingly good, given the circumstances (important people / not much time / a horse!).

      You can appreciate the problem of shadow when looking at the bubble-hat pix.

  10. I love the checkerboard pattern but the way that hat sticks up in the air reminds me of Princess Beatrice’s Royal Wedding disaster.

  11. Beautiful outfits!
    Second hat blocked on Rebecca Share hatblocks . Rebecca -very talented, creative and generous milliner, artist . Every year after issuing her collection , she gives classes on new blocks, materials ( classes available online with Hat Academy, too) . Collection of new hat blocks in collaboration with talented team of Hat Blocks Australia available for milliners for very very reasonable price.i do admire her enthusiasm and energy for sharing millinery experience with all, expanding “millions horizons ” ! One can see her work at

    • Thanks, Ivana! I have followed Rebecca Share’s designs for a while and hoped that one of them would make its way onto a royal head. In a round about way, it now has.

  12. The pink hat is okay, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about! That checkerboard hat is a millinery marvel, I love it. Bold and bright, it really suits Zara’s exuberant personality, and she carries it if well. Often Zara can be a bit over-styled but not here, everything else let’s the hat shine. My only quibble is that her hair could have been styled differently to disguise the scaffolding behind it, but I suspect that was a deliberate decision. An out there hat choice, and one that pays off.

    And also, great to see Zara and Mike out and about, they have gone through a dreadful experience, but she’s showing really courage and resilience to be back out and about so soon.

  13. Both headpieces, the pink and the navy, green, & white, are by Meg Rafter Millinery. Also, today’s The Courier Mail, Brisbane newspaper, reported Zara was wearing “a white Dion Lee dress and paid tribute to her love for Queensland with a headpiece by Brisbane’s Meg Rafter Millinery”.

    Whilst I love the pink outfit she wore to pre-race photocall on Friday, I think the streamlined raceday outfit of navy, green and white, is more her style – although the bubble base could have been bigger to balance the silhouette!

  14. I like the design of the chequered hat….but why oh why is the band in black??? It would be so much nicer if the band was in a blonde colour….just a bit more discrete. This actually spoils it for me.

  15. I love the pink hat. Not only is it nice in itself, it also fulfills the important criterion of enhancing the look of the person wearing it in the context of her outfit and event – quite often with even an individually attractive hat, this is not the case with our royal ladies.

    The small hat. I very much admire its boldness, and it looks better on Zara than most small hats do as they often don’t bring out the best in her. I really love it from the front, but I don’t think it can be considered a success, because from the side it just looks a mess, as though the designer has looked at it only from the front and not in the round. Side-on it’s a bloated pin-cushion, which really isn’t either attractive or flattering. I can’t help feeling that the milliner could have / should have been able to achieve a similar frontal effect while making the other views attractive too.

      • Yes! I think the conversation here is always more interesting when we get at the root of what does or does not make a hat work, in our opinions. I agree with you- the side view is not terribly attractive. From the front, however, it’s such fun!

  16. Well,, I am having difficulty calling this a hat…. Is it a hat? I do not think so! And I admire her inventiveness but cannot like the “hat”!

    • A cocktail hat is defined as: A small, brimless hat with a visible, fully formed base (usually made of straw, fabric or felt). Cocktail hats are still usually worn perched on the top or side of the head and do not fully cover the wearer’s head. Most cocktail hats are embellished with dramatic trim (feathers, flowers, bows etc.).

      Based on this definition, this pieces certainly qualifies as a hat.

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