Featured: For The Birds: Goodwood Revival's Costume Carnival Delivers

For The Birds: Goodwood Revival’s Costume Carnival Delivers

By Florence Walker
September 14, 2016

Photography by Florence Walker

Tempted to start planning an excursion to Goodwood Revival in 2017? Excellent decision. Just don’t turn up in jeans and a sports jacket.

Saturday is the Revival’s unofficial ‘Ladies Day’ but at Goodwood it’s a little different from your run-of-the-mill massive hat and smart heels combo. Vintage is de rigueur, with extra approving nods and compliments for the accuracy of your attire.

Everyone is in on the fun, the boys as much as the girls. For the boys, vintage military uniforms are worn with pride and can even be passed under the nose of veterans who’ll tell you if it’s up to scratch. One fine-looking fellow in a naval uniform had been growing a moustache for three months, but had been informed by an old sea dog that next year he’d have to grow a full bushy beard if he wanted to really look the part. “Aye, aye, captain!” If you’re more of a pacifist you can make like GQ editor Matt Jones and opt for a more ’60s look or go full Goodwood and sport overalls complete with vintage badges.

Most of the best dressed women plan their outfits for months beforehand, either by having friends run up dresses for them or ransacking their grandmother’s wardrobe. One woman, an actual costumier, had been a runner up for best dressed every year at Goodwood and knew a staggering amount about the history of fashion during the post war years. Needless to say that even her choice of man as accessory looked period correct. Attention to detail is key.

In the absence of months of preparation and research, red lipstick is a girl’s best friend, as is a cagoule or the wing of an Avro Anson for when it inevitably chucks it down as it did on the Saturday this year. But a good old-fashioned measure of stiff upper lip was seen all round with Revivalers avoiding the downpour. Shelter was sought in the Veuve Clicquot marquee where there was a round-the-clock tea dance, complete with a live band, strings of bunting, and lashings of champagne (and ginger beer for the kids).

The market was another popular destination for those wishing to keep their victory rolls dry, and a choice destination if you arrive having not quite clocked the dress code. Several vintage stores will happily deck you out from head to toe in something appropriate. For those needing help with their hair or makeup there’s not one but three salons on site to get you looking tip top—just remember to book yourself in beforehand.

If you manage to snag an invitation to the hallowed fancy dress ball on the Saturday evening, it really will be time to pull out all the stops. This year, the theme was Batman but all cartoon characters were welcome. Plenty of Catwomen graced the dancefloor, while Sir Stirling Moss and his wife dressed as Mickie and Minnie Mouse. We spotted a Silver Surfer and even a passable Wolverine. If fancy dress isn’t your thing you can always opt for black tie…but arrive prepared for the disappointed looks from partygoers.

Chop, chop! Only 12 more months to get your costumes in order. What will you wear to the Revival next year?

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Andy Evans
Andy Evans
7 years ago

The cars are of course amazing and the fact that they race is awesome in itself, but here are people enthusiastic for the whole period, and a chance to engage and become part of it rather than spectate. Being there you feeling as one with the cars, the drivers and a by-gone era….this is absolutely a bucket-list item.

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