Tomorrow Australia stops work, downs tools, dons a fancy hat and cheers on as 24 horses and their riders bolt around a racetrack in Flemington for the annual Melbourne Cup.
Whilst all eyes are on the horses for approxomately three and a half minutes, most attendees are clambering to gain access to the exclusive "Birdcage" tent city that springs up trackside. This year, the vast expanse of bitumen will play hosrt to more than thirty-nine, multi-million dollar marquees, designed to wine, dine and woo celebrities, nobodies and anyone in between.
Beyond the premium (fortunate few) fenceline will stand a further 66 corporate marquees with each brand from Emirates, Mumm, Lexus to Lavazza proudly boasting a celebrity guest list from Sarah Jessica-Parker to Joan Collins and each holding nothing back in one of the biggest branding circuses this country sees.
Perhaps misleadingly titled, the pop-ups are more accurately described as sizable clubs and restaurants with legions of staff and years of planning and strategy behind them. Themed and styled immaculately, it is not uncommon for leading designers such as Hecker Guthrie, Gloss Creative and Herbert + Mason to be brought on board to design the most outlandish, eye-catching and memorable space. In 2011's Dulux Colour Awards Herbert + Mason even won best colour for a commercial interior for "Bleu" a commission by the Victorian Racing Club.
With each year it seems the stakes are as high off the track as on - even in the face of a rather considerable economic downturn, there seems to be no stopping the serious business of fun and frovility!
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