FASHION | We hear from two of Australia's best as we count down to The Ned Prix de Fashion

30 Apr 2021
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Two of our judges from across the ditch, ​Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Ambassador Crystal Kimber and VRC’s 2018 MYER FOTF National Final winner Carle Rutledge, have given us the inside word on all things fashion ahead of The Ned Prix de Fashion.

What are you looking for in a winning outfit?

Crystal: I am looking for an outfit that incorporates the latest trends with their own individual flare. An outfit should reflect someone’s personality!

Carle: An eye-catching outfit that is cohesive, well-tailored and pushes the traditional boundaries a little to really showcase someone’s true individual style. I love seeing someone’s personality really shine through in their outfits.


What sort of vibe are you going for with your own outfits this season?

Crystal: This season I’m being a little more minimalistic in my accessory choices and focusing on making the outfit stand out. I love unique colour combinations, statement sleeves and beautiful tailoring

Carle: Something that can accommodate a baby bump haha! And I am adoring the gorgeous prints that we are seeing come through on the runways so definitely channeling a more feminine vibe.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to entering fashions in the field competitions?

Crystal: Get up there and give it a go. It is such a fun process planning an outfit, getting ready on the day and feeling your best self. It is such a lovely community, with so many supportive men and women so it is a great opportunity to make some new friends as well.

Carle: Just give it a go and trust your own instinct to really reflect your own personal style rather than follow trends. Also a great outfit doesn’t need to break the bank – mix up designer options with less expensive or even re-style existing wardrobe items and vintage finds.

Is it really “all about the sash”?

Crystal: Look the thrill of winning is a wonderful feeling, but for me it’s the processing of planning the outfit, feeling your most fabulous self and having a fun day out with friends that really is the best part of the day.

Carle: While it is always wonderful to receive such an accolade, it definitely is not all that matters. It really is about having a go, dressing up, challenging yourself and exploring your creativity. Plus, who doesn’t love a chance to dress up and enjoy a day out (post COVID of course!).

How do you think New Zealand’s racewear scene differs from other countries or, what sets us apart?

Crystal: The NZ competition is hotly contested. I love how much effort everyone puts in and entrants really spend the time to research trends, DIY at home and create something that is truly unique. In Australia, a lot of contestants rely heavily on designer fashion and less about DIY which is why I feel NZ constants are winning in Australia at the Myer Fashions On The Field competition.

Carle: I think NZ’s racing fashion community are definitely not afraid to take risks and be bold which is so wonderful and refreshing to see – very competitive that’s for sure and offering lots of inspiration to other racing fashion communities.

What’s your best racewear or fashion hack? Either something you’ve done yourself, or something you’ve seen that looked amazing?

Crystal: I love layering. Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect top to go with a beautiful skirt or you have a fabulous strapless dress you would like to wear but it’s not quite suitable for FOTF. Try layering a dress under a skirt or wear a blouse or shirt under a dress to create your look. It is always a great way to reuse items you already have in your wardrobe.

Carle: Well I have to admit for my winning Myer FOTF outfit in 2018, I actually hand painted my feather earrings and my belt to get the right colour combo, rather than wasting time trying to hunt down something in the shops which you might never find!

What’s the first thing you notice when someone gets up on fashions in the field runway?

Crystal: I always notice a smile. When you have a big smile on your face, you instantly look like you love what you are wearing and a proud of your outfit. Judges immediately notice this presence and it stands out amongst everyone else. If you feel fabulous and confident, you will show your outfit off to the judges even more!

Carle: It is always definitely an entrant’s personality and confidence I think as they showcase their outfit, and then I always look for cohesion of the entire outfit and attention to detail around accessories and millinery that really bring the whole look to life.

Sometimes you hear judges say the final decision for them came down to the ‘little things’ or the ‘overall look’ – what is it for you and what are the ‘little things’ or ‘overall’ look that you’re looking for?

Crystal: It really is about those little details that you think judges won’t notice. From price stickers left on the bottoms of your shoes, or accessories that match in an unexpected way, judges definitely notice these things.

Carle: It really does come down to finishing touches in the end when there are so many wonderful outfits – the attention to detail with accessories and grooming which really reflect individual style and personality.

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