With a busy season of spring racing carnivals behind us, last Saturday Melbournians took the chance to celebrate the first warm days of summer with the Land Rover Polo in the City event in the heart of Albert Park.
Originally created as a way to train Persian cavalry 2,500 years ago, polo has long been a celebrated sport in the Middle East, China and India. Many versions emerged over the years, including those played on yaks, camels, elephants and, more recently, Segways.
In the last decade, it has evolved into an urban version in Australia, in order to make the sport more spectator friendly. The changes include a significantly smaller field, which allows for a better view for the observers and requires faster reflexes from the players due to the close quarters of the game. The ball has also been remade in lighter plastic for the safety of the spectators.
Now, Urban Polo is the largest polo competition in the world, with seven events held annually across Australia titled ‘Polo by the Sea’ and ‘Polo in the City’. Growing more popular by the year, thousands attend each event.
A few event pics
The events are an opportunity to enjoy the afternoon with friends and drinks in hand, and a chance to see local celebrities wearing the latest fashion.
Guests enjoyed watching the sport from a variety of marques places around the polo field, each with its own decor and catering.
The VIP Marquee, open only to Urban Polo Association members, allowed its guests to seek shade in a room filled with vintage leather and bronze furniture by Cocolea. The decor was accompanied by a chic gourmet lunch paired with fine wines.
On the opposite side of the field was the garden-like Somersby Polo Lounge, which invited guests to sip on sparkling local wine, as well as apple, pear and blackberry cider. Pitchers of the signature sangria made with apples and berries could be seen on most tables, and entertainment was provided in the form of croquet and oversized Jenga. Attendees were also invited to meet the horses that moved elegantly during the game.
Inside the marques, Jennifer Hawkins caught up with Rebecca Judd. Both opted for light colours, with Hawkins wearing a pastel blue two-piece Toni Maticevski and Judd in white Alexis shorts and blouse, adorned with lace.
Other notable attendees included Brit Davis, girlfriend of Geelong Cats captain Joel Selwood, wearing a white sheer frock by Asilio with floral design, as well as Australian Bachelor winner, Alexandra Nation, in a flowy white and black dotted dress. Also, Big Brother’s Tully Smyth turned heads in candy cane-like pink-and-white striped dress also by Asilio.
Aside from the two polo games, the day’s entertainment included a men’s and ladies’ dash, where spectators took to the field to race each other for prizes.
Fashion on the Field
A Fashion on the Field competition followed, sponsored by Chadstone luxury shopping centre. Unlike Melbourne Cup where contestants applied for the competition in advance, fashionable ladies were chosen from the crowd to compete for gifts from The Daily Edited, Reiss, Mecca Maxima and Pol Roger Champagne.
Thurley’s designer Helen O’Connor, adorned in the new season’s lemon yellow laced creation, was chosen to judge along with Chadstone ambassador Tess Shanahan. The winning look was head to toe Gucci.
Overall, the Land Rover Polo in the City was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. With several more urban polo events planned for the summer, both in Portsea and Werribee, Melbourne’s fashionistas can’t wait for the opportunity to once again dress for such an elegant event.