Veteran racehorse Morestead, resplendent in a Harris Tweed suit, is at his dapper best ahead of this week’s Britain’s Cheltenham racing festival.
Morestead may be among the most dapper racegoing horses you’re ever likely to see, but it’s his human counterparts who genuinely embrace tweed.
Statistics specialist Dr Geoff Ellis calculated that enough tweed was worn at Cheltenham Festival to stretch all the way from the historic Cheltenham racecourse to Ireland.
Ellis studied 32 large scale crowd photos from the festival to analyse the amount of tweed on show, finding that, on average, 200 miles and seven furlongs (321.5km) of tweed are worn every year by spectators – enough to stretch one and a half times around every horse racetrack in Britain and Ireland.
He found that the most popular tweed item among men was a tweed jacket, with 1 in 3 males (31%) selecting it as their festival attire. The most popular tweed item amongst women was a tweed coat, with 28% of females wearing one.
So while Morestead might not be the first to wear tweed, he is certainly the first horse to be outfitted in a bespoke tweed suit.
The outfit was commissioned by bookmakers William Hill to celebrate the start of the festival, and Morestead was joined by racing legend Sir Anthony McCoy, also resplendent in tweed, to mark the unveiling of the equine suit.
The outfit was created by former Alexander McQueen apprentice and celebrity stylist Emma Sandham-King.
Morestead’s suit is a three-piece complete with shirt, tie and flat cap.
Sandham-King and her team of seamstresses and tailors, spent four weeks creating the enormous tailored suit using over 18 metres of genuine tweed shipped from the Isle of Harris.
The custom-made suit used 10 times as much fabric as an equivalent human suit.
This year is likely to see more tweed worn than since the industry’s heyday in the 1960s, with tweed gracing the catwalks at last year’s New York, Paris and London Fashion Weeks.
Sandham-King said that creating the first tweed suit for a horse was one of the biggest challenges she had faced in her career as a designer.
“Some models can be real divas,” she said, “but … Morestead was calm and a pleasure to work with.”
Sandham-King said tweed was undergoing a massive revival and this year’s Cheltenham Festival would likely see the most tweed worn since the ’60s.