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Inside the Birdcage

Every year, Flemington’s Birdcage becomes the place to be seen, where VIP guests are wined, dined and treated to top shelf delicacies. It’s where A to D listers keenly schmooze and enjoy the decadence that is Flemington’s Birdcage during the Spring Racing Carnival’s most vibrant social week.

Champagne flows, caviar is flown in and served 24 hours before guests arrive each day and the Birdcage is the place where the rich, famous and those who hang in the right places are invited every year.

One of our woman with drive contributors, Jane Rocca, took an exclusive sneak-peak at the inside action in the Birdcage for this Spring Carnival:



This year’s German theme at Emirates brings a fairy tale façade of German architectural icon Neuschwanstein Castle. Located at the front of the Millionaire’s Row, guests are treated to artwork by Mark Schaller – he was commissioned to produce a six by three-metre 3D artwork for the exterior. It’s also the only marquee to offer full sit down restaurant service – cuisine by head chef Tony Cimmino. Drinks include G.H.Mumm champagne; German beer and German inspired cocktails while dishes include venison, schnitzel, apple strudel and the Berliner – a classic German doughnut.

Celebrity guests include: Supermodel and German personality Ann-Kathrin Brommel [her boyfriend Mario Gotze kicked the World Cup winning goal], Ron Moss [plays Ridge Forrester on Bold and the Beautiful] and Gigi Hadid – supermodel and IT girl.

Others appearing at Emirates include: Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Girl fame, Ken Downing [Neiman Marcus senior vice-president and fashion director] and Kate Waterhouse.



The colossal romance of Lavazza comes to life in the capable hands of architect Matthew Herbert of Herbert Mason who opts for Renaissance decadence at this palazzo of cool. There’s Raphael’s School of Athens al fresco that covers an entire wall of this marquee, the Gods cheekily holding a cup of Lavazza, of course.

Food wise, guests are in the capable hands of Paolo Mascipinto (Sarti, Melbourne), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater, Sydney), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater, Sydney), Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio at the Spit, Sydney) and Jake Nicolson (Black Bird Bar and Grill, Brisbane) – a top range of salami, cheese and other antipasti goods also do the rounds.

Celebrity guests include: Margherita Missoni – the heiress to her family’s Missoni fashion house. She recently relocated from Italy to New York to focus on her acting and designs children and homeware collections for the brand.

Solange Knowles – yes – that’s Beyonce’s sister – will take over the decks at Lavazza for some DJ action.


G.H.Mumm Champagne

They expect more than 65,000 glasses of champagne to be drunk in their Cote D’Azure themed birdcage this year. Guests can also expect the best seafood on the menu too – with caviar flown in and served within 24 hours of it arriving via plane.  Guests will experience the art of sabrage a 200 year old French tradition which sees a sabre used to break the neck of the bottle clean away from the base, leaving it ready to pour. At 4pm every day the marquee will switch from daytime beach club to nightclub.

It apparently costs $8000 to wine and dine each VIP guest at Mumm. With Oscietra caviar air-freighted from Abu Dhabi 24 hours prior to serving and other godly seafood on offer, you can understand why. Ice- cream by Gelato Messina tops off a fabulous menu.

Celebrity Guests:

International DJs Robin Schulz and Fred Falke, model Bambi Northwood-Blyth and designer Dan Single.



Geometric and bold cues rule the spring storyboard at Myer. Fresh and understated makes this marquee an absolute favourite every year for its rockin’ afternoon parties. Fashion illustrator Kat McLeod’s sketches appear at the entrance while modern fabrics and textural posts float throughout. Gloss Creative has designed the interiors while The Big Group do the catering – from acia and berry smoothies to spiced tuna tartare and black quinoa cake and yuzu cream.

Celebrity Guests:

Jennifer Hawkins, Kris Smith, designers: Alex Perry, Yeojin Bae and Toni Maticevski.



They took a year off last year, but Swisse returns with a healthy Paleo-inspired diet in the Birdcage. Epicure Catering and Karen Martini present an almost entirely gluten-free menu. Each dish features a different Swisse ingredient such as Tasmanian salmon, leek and black pepper frittata. There’s plants in pots and CLED in bright neon letters – a reminder to ‘celebrate life everyday’.

Celebrity Guests: Australian actress Margot Robbie, Danielle Spencer, Cadel Evans, Swisse Ambassador Ashley Hart and Megan Gale.

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