Ascot looks for winners in the high fashion stakes

Laura Elston

All this will help to wash down 7,500 lobsters and five tonnes of strawberries eaten with 1,650 gallons of cream as more than 300,000 people are expected to flock to the festival.

In blazing sunshine, punters packed the Berkshire racecourse sipping champagne and treating themselves to portions of strawberries and cream.

Nearly 50,000 people flooded through the gates yesterday for the first of five days of horse racing.

Temperatures soared into the 80s, hitting 27C (81F), with the ladies’ hats, for which Ascot is famed, providing much-needed cover from the heat.

Gentlemen punters were decked out in the traditional outfit of top hat and tails, making sure to follow a strict dress code on the course which bans trainers, jeans and shorts.

High society members who flocked to the Royal Enclosure were doing double takes when Marilyn Monroe sauntered into the exclusive area.

Suzie Kennedy who impersonates the blonde bombshell for a living dressed up as the screen icon for a day at the races.

Wearing a plunging tight red sequined dress, split to the thigh, and diamonds around her neck, the look-a-like said she was hoping for an encounter with Britain’s royals.

“I was kind of hoping for a Prince and the Showgirl theme. My dress is by Bunny Bernard who knew Marilyn. When he met me, he was just dying to make a costume for me.”

The 27-year-old, from London, has been impersonating the film goddess for six years and played the star in a Citroen advert and in the TV film Who Killed Marilyn?

Her white and red feather head piece was borrowed from entertainer Danny La Rue.

Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in a canary yellow outfit, enjoyed her traditional arrival by horse-drawn carriage, joined by the dapper-looking Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Prince Michael of Kent.

Rolling Stones rocker Ronnie Wood, entertainer Bruce Forsyth and socialite Ivana Trump were among the celebrities in the crowd hoping to back a winner.

Come Dancing’s Bruce was kitted out in top hat and tails and accompanied by wife Wilnelia, a former Miss World.

Mrs Forsyth wore a burnt orange dress with wide draped sleeves designed by Roubi L’Roubi, and a matching hat.

“I’ve been up all night sewing,” Bruce said of his wife’s outfit.

BBC motorsports correspondent Suzi Perry also opted for the colour orange, wearing a floaty summer dress designed by Ronit Zilkha and a hat by Cozmo Jenks decorated with a purple bloom.

Fifties-style dresses and suits teamed with corsages are set to dominate the trackside fashion this year, according to the organisers.

Other themes predicted to be popular with the ladies include extravagant patterns, vibrant colours and, possibly, colourful hosiery.

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