High-fashion milliner looks to the racing set

Louis Mariette, an exclusive London hat designer, is favoured by people such as the Queen’s UK couture house Hardy Amies. His bespoke creations typically retail at around £2,500 and have featured in films, photoshoots and on catwalks around the world.

Campaign Sandown Ladies' Day
Client Louis Mariette and Sandown Park
PR team Societás and Johnno Spence Consulting
Timescale June-July 2005
Budget £8,000 to £10,000, including VIP entertainment

Earlier this year, Mariette was approached by Sandown Park Racecourse to create a fashion event that would add style and entertainment to the Coral Eclipse Ladies' Day in July. To ensure the proposed fashion show gained maximum exposure, Mariette's retained PR, marketing and sponsorship agency Societás worked with Sandown's retained PR agency Johnno Spence Consulting.

To showcase the work of Louis Mariette beyond the exclusive lifestyle media and position the milliner as couturier to the racing world. To launch a new collection of contemporarily styled 'Pure' hats, fronted by model Jodie Kidd, and prepare the ground
for a proposed diversification into the fragrance market.

Strategy and Plan
To promote the event to the 'well-heeled ladies who lunch' set, Societàs sent out press releases to top-end consumer and sporting publications. These outlined the details of the fashion show, to be held in the paddock between two of the major races on Ladies' Day, and a style awards ceremony for racegoers.

The activity was backed by a poster campaign in Tube stations serving upmarket areas of London, including Sloane Square and Bond Street. To bring further glamour and excitement to the day itself, Societás set up a VIP tent to entertain a mix of lifestyle journalists, society celebrities – including Kidd – and executives from luxury brands, including TVR cars, who each received a Prada goody bag.

Guests and other racegoers enjoyed a theatrical fashion show, which was also shown on big screens to the race-going audience. This featured the Louis Mariette hats, stilt walkers and a burlesque performer. In addition, a panel of judges, including Kidd, celebrity stylist Hannah Sandling and Howard Wright from The Racing Post, awarded prizes to racegoers for the best-dressed man and woman, and most glamorous couple, spotted on the day.

Measurement and Evaluation
Widespread coverage appeared in titles ranging from Country Life magazine to The Mail on Sunday, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times and The Racing Post. Hello! magazine featured the official 'Pure' image of Kidd, while Channel 4 ran a three-minute
interview with the model plus ten slots on the fashion show and style awards during its live racing coverage.

The Coral Eclipse Ladies' Day sold out for the first time since 1988 with more than 18,000 racegoers in attendance. It is not clear how the event influenced sales of Louis Mariette hats, but building brand awareness was the priority.

Mail on Sunday sales executive Yasmin Leadbeater says: 'It was great to come along to the Ladies' Day in July to see not only some top flat racing but also to watch a fantastic fashion parade for the unveiling of Louis Mariette's "Pure" hat collection.'

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