While the weather managed to hold, it was still a grey day in the Birdcage at Flemington for the opening of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Scores of dandy blokes wore their best grey suits in every conceivable pattern and check, with three piece and double breasted cuts at the top of the list.
Chilly gusts of wind blowing down the corridors of the famous corporate shmooze-fest meant that some were forced to rethink outfits at the last minute, with improvised jackets and scarves popping up at every corner.
Most VIP guest stuck to the black and white dress code, but plenty pushed the boundaries with pops of red, gold and purple in an attempt to stand out from the champagne-swilling punters.
Accessories were a popular way to make a statement, with tie bars, chains, pocket squares and embroidered loafers seen on scores of gents. Round sunglasses ruled, while white jackets and subtle separates also proved popular.
For the first time, the mandatory sock rule was lifted in members areas, meaning there were dozens of bare ankles being flashed above Italian tasseled loafers.
The marquee circuit was typically loud and louche, with Emirates dropping its usual city-themed enclosure for a more corporate affair including a replica of an on-board first class bar and a structure covered in thousands of plastic pipes for its final year as king of the cage.
Lexus brought its usual glam squad with three floors of star spotting and an elaborate Neil Perry-Ben Shewry pop-up restaurant, while Lavazza was brassier than ever pumping out espresso martinis as the party kids lined up to get in. Watch brand Kennedy made a sleek debut with a refined, luxuriously carpeted marquee decked out in a forest of flowers.
Myer was the tough nut to crack, with a strict door policy and a high-concept fit out with cafe-tiled floor spelling out Insta-friendly quips and a canape train in the corner while photographers popped shots in a garret above the crowd.
As the day wore on things began to get loose, proving that in the wild world of the Birdcage nothing is black and white, but fifty shades of glamorous grey.
Scroll through the gallery at the top to see our pick of 30 of the most intriguing people in the Birdcage.