One of the elegant ladies on the lawn at Flemington watching the Melbourne Cup in 1901 was Mrs Crespigny née Sophia Beggs (1870-1936), second wife of my great great grandfather, Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850-1927).

In its description of the dresses of several hundred women at Flemington, the Age reported that Mrs Crespigny wore a pink foulard costume trimmed with white lace and black velvet.

Foulard is a lightweight silk, sometimes woven with cotton. It usually has a small multi-coloured printed pattern.

The Adelaide Observer of 24 August 1901 included a column from a “London Correspondent” about Illustrated Fashions.

ILLUSTRATED FASHIONS. (1901, August 24). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 – 1904), p. 41. Retrieved from

The columnist wrote:

Foulard is a material very much en evidence at present, and has much to be said in favour of its popularity. Its glossy surface is satin-like in appearance, while the fact that it is not satin renders it suitable for wear on occasions when satin would be out of place, and by young people to whom the richer fabric would be quite unsuitable. Among the most distinguished foulards are those with a creamy background with a gleaming satiny surface, patterned all over with a light lacelike or scroll design. I saw an exceedingly smart,gown of this description worn at a fashionable race meeting by one of the best dressed leaders of fashionable society. The minute details cannot be shown very well in the accompanying sketch, but the general outlines are the same. The hem of the skirt consisted in the approved style of a flowing flounce made of accordion-pleated chiffon ruched at the edge over silk and veiled by lace encrusted with a scroll-like applique of black velvet.

The Deseret Evening News of 15 June 1901 has a photograph of a foulard costume.

retrieved from Google News

The Sydney Freeman’s Journal of 21 September 1901 also has an illustration of a costume in foulard.

FASHIONS UP TO DATE. (1901, September 21). Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1932), p. 25. Retrieved from

In 1901, the Cup was won by Revenue, a 5 year-old gelding, the favourite at 6 to 4 against.

1901 Melbourne Cup: the first three horses placed in winning order – Revenue, San Fran and Khaki – retrieved from

Revenue, the winner of the Melbourne Cup in 1901, painted by Frederick Woodhouse junior (1847-1927) retrieved from


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