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Prancing with the stars at Melbourne Cup loses its glow with celebrity line-up

Submitted by msnstyle on Tue, 10/27/2015 - 21:43

The late motormouth Joan Rivers spoke for many international guests who find themselves the star of an Australian event when she took a nip of her truth serum at the 2006 Logies and declared: "I don't know why the f--k I'm here."

Rivers never got to scratch her coiffure at the Melbourne Cup Carnival but her daughter Melissa will when she's a guest of the Mumm marquee with her Fashion Police co-star Brad Goreski​ and others from the American E! television channel. And there's a demographic who will go wild at French DJ David Guetta​.

For those awaiting the big bang of international celebrities who are household names, waving a cheque book is so 2014. "More people will know the jockeys than the celebrities," said one acerbic observer of the Birdcage's parade of champions.

James Packer would save the day if he arrived with shapely girlfriend Mariah Carey but their star power is on the wish-list, a dreamy state of yearning that also included Pippa Middleton, the sister of Kate Middleton, and Jean Shrimpton to mark the 50th anniversary of her bare legs in the mini.

Google and Wikipedia will come in handy for those who aren't glued to the TV or read Britain's Tatler magazine.

The Emirates marquee has an English theme and one international guest is Lady Kitty Spencer, the niece of the late Princess Diana. Lady Kitty will mark the 30th anniversary of Diana's Melbourne Cup Day visit with Prince Charles but don't expect her to pour her heart out because she was aged six when her aunt died. "Sadly, I have very few memories of my aunt," Lady Kitty told Tatler. "I was so young when she died."

Other Emirates guests are milliner Stephen Jones and model Millie Mackintosh. Fans of the TV show Made in Chelsea will know her (or consult Professor Google

For more than a decade, the Lavazza marquee spent up big on guests when the multi-million distribution business was owned by John Valmorbida​ and family but now that it has been sold back to the Lavazza family in Italy, it's arrivederci to the rock 'n' roll mosh pit and ciao to local talent.

The creative and strategic force behind securing previous international guests was Valentina Jovanoska​ and she created a traffic jam for Snoop Dogg​, Carmen Electra, Dita Von Teese, Adrian Grenier, Richie Sambora, Kelly Osbourne​ and Roberto Cavalli.

The Swisse marquee has rested its cheque book after a stellar performance hosting Nicole Kidman, Joan Collins, Margot Robbie, Kim Cattrall and a cardboard cutout of Kim Kardashian after she cancelled her appearance due to her marriage break-up with Kris Humphries in 2011.

Being a global company, Swisse believes in working with international and local talent to generate excitement overseas and in Australia. The company's director of sales and marketing, Michael Howard, said: "Our marquee is themed modern China to celebrate our success in the Asian region so it's also important we generate excitement around Swisse in these markets."

This year, Swisse's celebrity guest will make an entrance on Oaks Day and he is Kevin Dillon, a star of the TV show Entourage and brother of actor Matt Dillon.

The company's honour board of celebrities is largely due to the connections of former media and PR machine Mitch Catlin who previously worked for Myer and secured the appearances of Dame Edna Everage, Liza Minnelli, Mel B, Jerry Hall and her daughter Georgia May Jagger.

Whether marquees fork out $20,000 for a guest or $200,000, they expect an ROI, a return on investment, via media coverage and social media hashtags. The VRC's chief executive, Simon Love, said the Cup was an international event and Birdcage sponsors who brought guests to Australia helped raise the profile of the carnival and their brand.

"Such investments can lead to very significant media coverage in Australia, but also overseas, which can be particularly valuable for an international brand," Mr Love said.

When guests don't comply with the dress code, that can generate just as much interest. Tommy Lee, the ex-husband of Pamela Anderson, arrived in the Tabcorp marquee about 4pm on Derby Day in 2009 and dressed like he was attending a knitting convention by wearing a grey jumper and grey cap.

It's a wonder how Enrique Iglesias, son of Julio, was allowed into the Birdcage when he turned up to the Emirates marquee in 2010 dressed for a barbecue wearing jeans, a khaki T-shirt, white shirt and a khaki cap(

One way to create a frenzy is to keep the media waiting and Naomi Campbell did that at the Lexus marquee on Derby Day in 2013 when she was unfashionably late by an hour.

Similar to the Logies, our land Down Under seeks validation by having international guests tell us how great we are but maybe it's time to embrace our homegrown heroes.