10 Incredible hats
The Dubai World Cup gallops into town on Saturday March 25 and that means we’re going to be seeing a year’s worth of hats in just a few weeks. While the city’s milliners, fashion bloggers and style innovators compete to out-do each other, the rest of us will be left wondering if it’s all an elaborate prank. Flamingo feather fascinators, leopard-print fedoras, diamond bowlers and themed constructions that tower taller than the Burj Khalifa will all be considered passé, as boundary-pushers look to stand out from the crowd.
9 Minor celebrities
With ludicrous hats and sunshine comes a procession of tabloid celebrities. Ex-footballers, TV chefs, “it” girls, models, soap stars and the occasional reality series star will be in attendance and desperately trying to catch the eye of passing press photographers so they can be “surprised with
8 Sia’s face
The elaborately-fringed pop star is playing at this year’s after-race concert. Known for outlandish costumes, monochrome wigs and energetic performances, she could actually blend in with a crowd that has spent several hours in hospitality pavilions, but a powerful voice and energetic choreography could make the publicity-averse singer’s show one of the best of the year.
7 Fantastic fashion
One scientific study, which we just made up, categorically proves that there are more floral pocket squares, purple suits, couture bow ties and sunglasses artfully propped on well-oiled heads at this event than there are at any other anywhere on the planet. Men and women from the more confident end of the style spectrum embrace this annual day at the races as one big fashion show. Ball gowns, floral-print maxi-dresses, figure-hugging silk bodysuits – this is your big opportunity to look a million dollars. Just be aware that the person standing next to you in the shawarma queue at the end of the night could well have a million dollars worth of jewellery on.
6 Breathtaking horses
You can’t tell on the telly but they’re really tall, really loud and actually quite beautiful. Get trackside for a few minutes to appreciate their majesty.
5 Fascinating races
In case you forget, there’s some sport to enjoy as well. The jockeys are the best in the world. Pull your top hat or feather boa away from your eyes long enough and you’ll witness sporting legends.
4 Outdoor endurance
Want to spend nine World Cup hours squeezed into stilettos and an ill-fitting party frock? This fashion race is an endurance event, not a sprint. Dress for function as well as fun if you plan to make a day of it.
3 Taxi queues
People-watching doesn’t come much better than observing thousands of immaculately dressed revellers in high heels and elaborate hats spilling out of an eccentric pop concert in tropical heat to form an orderly queue for a taxi.
2 Elaborate ceremony
This being Dubai, there’s an excellent chance the finale to racing season will come with fireworks. Not to mention lasers, pageantry, trophies and, if other years are anything to go by, lots of choreographed dancing and mildly baffling costumed performances.
1 Social reassurance
We know you work hard. We know you spend a lot of time standing around waiting for taxis and squeezing into Metro carriages. We know your luxury apartment is a box room in a shared flat in Barsha. But your friends back home don’t know that. They all think you spend a couple of hours a week sipping cappuccinos in meetings and the rest of the time rubbing shoulders with the rich and semi-famous. Put on your best frock, perch a three-metre-wide pink, lacey sombrero on your head and totter around the paddock on polka dot wedges taking Instagram snaps for a few hours at the World Cup and your reputation for the high life will be set for another six months.
Will Milner is a contributing editor. He likes to wear a backwards baseball cap.