Brownlow Medal LIVE updates: Red carpet arrivals ahead of footy’s big night

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Key posts

  • The favourite: Nick Daicos
  • Full preview: Bont’s big chance to pounce
  • Long live the queen
  • What can we expect from the fashion tonight?
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Ponytails an early hair trend

Sometimes beauty can be overlooked at the Brownlow, when it’s all about the gowns, the shoes and the jewels.

Speaking of jewels, they are a huge feature of tonight’s looks (more on them later), but I noticed a lot of tidy, natural-looking manicures, a departure from the long pointed nails we have been seeing in recent times.

When it comes to hair, there were two very distinct trends when I visited the styling suites earlier today.

Many women were going for either an undone look with loose waves, or, the polar opposite, a “snatched” ponytail, sometimes with hair extensions.

Here’s Alex Pendlebury demonstrating the “hair by Panadol” high ponytail.

Ice, ice baby

One of the rising stars of the red carpet is Annalise Dalins, partner of Collingwood’s Josh Daicos. After last year’s red carpet, the 22-year-old’s social media following doubled overnight, cementing her place as a leading member of the Brownlow new guard.

Last week, the model and influencer dashed to Sydney in between preliminary final and Brownlow preparations for a fashion launch – a new range by her stylist for tonight, Paul Versace, in collaboration with Australian brand Bianca & Bridget. Talk about being busy.

Dalins is wearing an ice-blue gown by Oglia-Loro Couture, a colour that has been a winning formula in the past for Jessie Murphy and Charlotte Viney.

Ice-blue winners … Charlotte Viney (left) in 2019, and Jessie Murphy in 2017.Credit: Getty

The favourite: Nick Daicos

Full preview: Bont’s big chance to pounce

The late-season injury to Collingwood boy wonder Nick Daicos has set the stage for a fascinating Brownlow Medal count on Monday night.

Before Daicos was felled by a knee injury in round 21, he was the raging favourite for the AFL’s top individual honour. But his injury – which kept him out of the team until Friday night’s preliminary final – seemed to open an opportunity for the Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli, Melbourne powerhouse Christian Petracca and a host of other contenders.

Nick Daicos missed the end of the home and away season with injury.Credit: AFL Photos

READ MORE and DOWNLOAD our guide

A red nod to being green

I’ve often wondered when the Brownlow would start getting more on board with sustainable fashion, and, it seems, tonight could be the night.

Felicity Harley, wife of Sydney’s CEO and former Geelong Cat Tom Harley, has worked with stylist Donny Galella on her look, which is a re-wear of an Amanda Tasevski gown that was worn once before, reportedly by a woman attending a wedding.

“We wanted to do something eco-friendly this year,” Galella says. To complete the look, Harley’s clutch and jewels are also vintage.

More, please.

Top chances: Marcus Bontempelli

Who decides who wears what?

You may be wondering how all this Brownlow business works. In some cases, the stylists and partners have longstanding relationships. Lana Wilkinson is a good example of a stylist who has worked with the same partners and designers, especially Sonia Cappellazzo, for many years – if it works, keep doing it.

But for others, especially the first-timers, it can mean something as simple as a direct message on Instagram. Georgina Lamont told me that she searched for a designer whose style she liked, which led her to approach Cassandra Renee Couture, who then hooked her up with stylist Meggy Smith.

Stylist Paul Versace says he was approached by no fewer than 25 women to dress them tonight, but in the end he’s working with a fraction of that, so he can “create a ‘moment’ for each girl”. While the invitations go out about two months ahead for the team captains, some players aren’t asked until the last fortnight, meaning a scramble for a dress.

For the designers, a good Brownlow means being inundated with requests for wedding gowns and other black-tie commissions, which is why they’re prepared to make the dresses essentially for free. For stylists such as Versace, a good Brownlow – this is his fourth – leads to more work, such as for the spring racing carnival. “It sets you up for event season,” he says.

Flashback … white was a big colour trend in 2022.Credit: Getty

The calm before the storm

The Brownlow runs like a well-oiled machine, but to the uninitiated it can look like chaos.

Most of the make-up artists started at 10am, but the stylists were up well before then packing gowns and accessories into cars bound for Crown, where the Brownlow will take place.

The key stylists usually work in a crew with a team of hair and make-up people, plus photographers and videographers to capture the all-important behind-the-scenes content, which has become as big a part of the day as the red carpet itself.

Photographer Alex Drewniak is working on her third Brownlow, and had set up quite the photographic studio in what would normally be the loungeroom of a hotel suite. “It’s not often people are wearing gowns of this level [in Australia], so we need to do them justice,” she says.

Elsewhere in the suite, make-up artist Chantelle Baker was working on one of her eight women for the day. Each of them will have several touch-ups before the red carpet kicks off after 5pm. “There’s a trend of beautiful skin, lots of blush and berry-stained lips – basically that ‘French girl’ look,” she says.

Make-up artist Chantelle Baker (left) works on Charlotte Viney, while Joey Scandizzo does Annalise Dalins’ hair.Credit: Simon Fitzpatrick

Long live the queen

We’ve already spoken about Brownlow’s own Succession plot line, but let’s take a moment for the original queen of the carpet, Bec Judd. As far as we know, Judd isn’t attending tonight (according to her Instagram she was recently on holidays in Noosa), but we’ve put together a compilation of her best looks. After all, she put the “gownlow” into the Brownlow.

Judd’s 2008 dress (and many more since) helped catapult the team from J’Aton Couture – Jacob Luppino and Anthony Pittorino – from niche (albeit exclusive) bridal designers into a household name. The pair have since dressed celebrities including Cate Blanchett and the Queen herself, Beyonce.

What can we expect from the fashion tonight?

Welcome to fashion Christmas, AKA the Brownlow!

Tonight is the culmination of about two months’ work for many of Australia’s top designers, fashion stylists, hair and make-up artists, and all the teams that support them.

I’m feeling a distinct “changing of the guard” energy in terms of the number of fresh faces we will see at the Brownlow tonight. Some, like Georgina Lamont (partner of North Melbourne’s Nick Larkey), are attending their first count, while others are repeat attendees but, like Annalise Dalins (partner of Collingwood’s Josh Daicos) are commanding a greater share of the spotlight.

In terms of trends, a lot of designers have said their focus has been on streamlined silhouettes with cleaner lines. So expect maybe fewer ballgowns (but what’s a Brownlow without ballgowns!?) but plenty of glamour.

Read more about the changing of the Brownlow guard, and a look back at some of the best looks over the years.

Final preparations … (from left) stylist Meggy Smith, Georgina Lamont and Cassandra Renee prepare for Monday’s Brownlow.Credit: Eddie Jim

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