After 16 years in business, the end of this month will see Fiona’s of Mornington close its doors on Main Street in Mornington for the final time. Run by Associate Wakeful Club member Erica Macpherson together with her daughter Victoria and friend Susie, Fiona’s stocked a host of both International and Melbourne based brands. Fiona’s was the ‘go-to’ shop for many people involved in the racing industry especially during the Spring Carnival. Labels included Thurley, Moss & Spy and Ginger & Smart which are perfect for a day at the races and they also stocked a wide range of clutches, shoes and millinery to complete your raceday look.
Fashion and racing go hand in hand and a very well-known face in both the racing and fashion circles around Melbourne is the ever-stylish Erica. Growing up, Erica fondly remembers her English born mother and friends heading racing in all their finery. Hats were essential attire for ladies of their era and so a love of both fashion and racing was instilled in Erica from an early age.
A regular racegoer as a teenager, Erica decided to enter Fashion’s on the Field at Flemington during the Spring Carnival when she was 19. Wearing a beautiful 2-piece suit in pale mauve which she had received as a gift from her aunt in London, Erica accessorised with a matching hat that wouldn’t be out of touch with the current season’s trend. Erica won her heat on the day and qualified for the final on Stakes Day. Unfortunately, Erica’s beautiful suit from the Chandelier Room at Harrods of London didn’t wow the judges enough and the overall winner was Carolanne Berkowitz who in a fashion first for the time, was wearing a pantsuit. The overall prize that year was an all-expenses paid trip to Hong Kong, a very sought-after prize by all involved.
Erica modelled for some of Melbourne’s top fashion houses in her early twenties before going on to have her children Alex and Victoria. In later years, when Alex decided to embark on a career as a racehorse trainer, the family purchased a property on Roberts Rd adjacent to Mornington racecourse and relocated to the Mornington Peninsula. Erica’s partner Peter White had previously trained at Randwick in Sydney before moving to Melbourne so together they helped the young trainer to get on his way.
The racing bug is hard to escape and Peter took out his trainer’s licence again based at Mornington. Over the years there have been many success stories from the stable and Erica has been a proud owner on many great occasions. Always looking stylish, Erica can be found at racetracks throughout Victoria cheering home her runners and supporting Peter. Over his career, Jungle Ruler won an impressive 20 times and more recently Erica experienced success with Inspector, most notably the Peninsula Cup in 2015 and Delightful Sun was named Picnic Horse of the Year for 2017/18.
The love of horses and horse racing which Erica inherited from her mother has been passed on to the next generation as Erica’s two granddaughters Allegra and Mia are both keen horse riders and regular helpers to their Poppy at the racing stables.
Having attended so many different racing functions and fundraisers over the years, Erica had always said she would like to organise a fundraiser herself. When jockey Danny Bereton took a horrific fall at Moonee Valley in 2010, Erica decided that the time was right to start fundraising. Danny had ridden many horses Erica had been involved in and shared a special partnership with her race horse Baby Esme during her career. The first fundraising lunch was held at Morning Star Estate Winery in aid of the National Jockey’s Trust.
Since then Erica and her team of local ladies have gone on to raise thousands and thousands of dollars for many charities including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Living Legends as well as the National Jockey’s Trust. Two years ago. when Prussian Power, a horse formally trained by Peter White was detected through it’s microchip at the sales yard, Erica decided to raise money for Liz Andriske’s Sales Yard- Rescue and Rehabilitation charity. Trainers give retired racehorses to people in good faith that they will care for and provide a happy retirement for the horse, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Liz and her team do such great work for horses who haven’t been so lucky that Erica was only too happy to help raise funds to support her cause.
Now as she closes the door on her Ladies Boutique, for now Erica is looking forward to enjoying the Spring Carnival to the fullest. With a few different projects in the pipeline, who knows what the future will bring. One thing is for sure, you will see Erica looking glam at the races!