FASHION | We talk to our judges across the Tasman

23 May 2022
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

With entries closing for The Ned Prix de Fashion 2022 on Friday, we stole a few minutes with our Aussie reps on the judging panel to learn more about them, their take on racewear and what they’ll be looking for from a winning entry.

Some background to these accomplished women…

Jill Humphries (NZ/AUS)

A Kiwi based in Melbourne, Jill is an award-winning milliner and is no stranger to having judged The Ned Prix de Fashion. Amongst many other accolades, she was the first international milliner chosen to be part of the Royal Ascot Collective in 2019. More on Jill here.

Crystal Kimber-Peters (AUS)

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Ambassador Crystal is no stranger to our judging panel, having visited New Zealand on two previous occasions. Crystal has a long association with the VRC and was the 2019 Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador and the 2017 Myer Fashions on the Field National Final winner. Crystal also judged last year’s competition remotely from Australia so has been a welcome addition to the panel for several years now, even from afar!

Bree Laughlin (AUS)

Bree Laughlin has been a part of the racing fashion world for the better part of a decade and has immersed herself in the Australian racing scene as a racegoer, fashion competitor and VRC team member. In 2011 she was named the ‘Face of Caulfield’ before winning the Millinery Award at Flemington in 2014. She later joined the VRC content team which brought her to New Zealand for The Ned Prix de Fashion in 2020.

Racing fashion often takes its lead from current trends – what is your favourite trend at the moment that’s been incorporated into racewear? And is there a trend you hope never takes to the raceday runway?

Crystal | This season, I’m really loving the long glove trend. We’ve seen this look on the runways the last few seasons and if done right in a race outfit, could be the winning accessory that stands out from competitors. I hope that cut outs through the midsection and lower don’t make it to the raceday runway, racewear should stay a little more traditional.

Bree | I am enjoying seeing how a flounce sleeve is being incorporated into racewear at the moment. I think it can provide a really flattering silhouette when done well particularly for the cooler months. I am also loving the millinery is playing a more prominent role in racewear looks at the moment and not being treated as what appears to be an afterthought. I am not a huge fan of mullet dresses to be honest (high at the front and low at the back).

Blair Eadie in a statement headpiece at the Kentucky Derby in 2022. Image: @blaireadiebee


Jill | I am not trend driven, but more style driven. I think we have seen a little too much of the same, same over the past few years – probably forced upon people being restricted due to lockdown and limited with their shopping and spending habits. I personally would like to see more clashing of prints and fun use of textures to complete a look. The only thing I think we don’t need to see on runways are the crops – cut outs are inching their way into racing fashion, but I prefer they stay away.

Traditionally racewear ‘must haves’ included longer hemlines, gloves and covered shoulders. We’re seeing a more modern take on racewear now though it is still demure. What’s one tip to take what you might find on the high street (and perhaps better suited to a nightclub) and adapt it to suit a racewear sensibility?

Crystal | Shorter hemlines have been resurging in the past two years and we’ve started seeing this come through into racewear. If opting for a shorter hemline, pick a straight silhouette, not one that is figure hugging, for a chic way to wear the trend. Perhaps consider exploring vintage shops for a retro shift dress, as these were always in fun, unique prints.

Anna Campbell, a 2021 The Ned Prix de Fashion Grand Finalist, in a shorter, more retro look


Bree | I think it is important to remember that attending the races is a daytime event, so your attire, your grooming etc. should all be indicative of this. In terms of a tip – I would look in the mirror once ready and ask yourself “would I wear this to a nightclub?” If the answer is yes, you may need to go back into that closet of yours and make a few adjustments.

Jill | I think if you rock a tapered pant and can still walk in high heels (after two years of trainers – thanks COVID!) take that to the track. A confident and sharp silhouette is always noticeable and cuts through a sea of florals.

Australia’s racewear final, Myer Fashions on the Field, has been virtual for two years now as Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn. What do you look for in a winning photo entry?

Crystal | Showcasing different angles and textures of the outfit is the key to a winning entry. A smile is also one of the best accessories!

Bree | I look at the different components of an outfit and how they complement each other. This however does not mean how they “match” each other and I don’t believe an outfit needs to “match” to be a winning outfit. I look at the balance of an outfit with colours, tones, textures and aesthetic. With the competition being photo it is also important to think about how you are represented in the photo and the composition to give yourself the best chance to stand out amongst competitors.

Jill | Personally I find judging photos can be tricky as you are not seeing the movement of the look. Sometimes the best details can be seen when racewear look is moving around. So I look at details in a photo – I will zoom in and see if they have thought it through head to toe. And never underestimate a great background – that can show your personality also and accentuate the outfit.

Laura Campbell, The Ned Prix de Fashion 2021 Supreme Winner, in her entry photos taken at the Hamilton Gardens


We allow The Ned Prix de Fashion competitors to include a 15 sec video. This could be seen as a tight timeframe so what do you want to see the women focus on? Their personality? Details of the outfit? Or something else entirely?

Crystal | For me I’m looking to see their personality shine through. If you feel confident in what you are wearing, it will really make your outfit stand out from the other competitors. I’m also a big fan of clever accessorising, whether that’s something a little different or a unique colour combination.

Bree | This is exciting! I would love to see the entrants personality in their videos and an expression of how wearing it makes them feel.

Jill | Always focus on your smile and personality, that makes the whole outfit come together. I have seen amazing outfits on people that look like they are uncomfortable and that takes away from the look.

What has been the favourite raceday look you’ve worn?

Crystal | One of my favourites would be a Penfolds Victoria Derby Day outfit I wore three years ago. My outfit featured a strapless high shine leather Alex Perry dress that I layered over a sheer blouse my mum made. I paired it back with a black felt boater with a chiffon bow in my hair, my favourite vintage Versace bag and black crocodile textured heels. I loved it because it was a different look for me and had a lot of textures for a Derby outfit.

Crystal’s Penfolds Victoria Derby Day look


Bree | My favourite raceday look would have to be Oaks Day 2014 when I wore Jill Humphries’ winning Millinery Award entry at Flemington.

Jill | When I went to Royal Ascot the team at Trelise Cooper helped me out with a large pink tulle Dior style skirt. I paired it with a black pussy bow jacket and a black sculptural feathered piece and felt a million dollars.

Our Prix de Fashion sponsor is The Ned, a great wine brand here in New Zealand. If you had to liken yourself to a varietal, which one would you be?

Crystal | I would say a Chardonnay, as it pairs with a lot of different cuisines, which like my fashion sense in that it’s versatile and changes depending on how I feel.

Bree | I think I am perhaps most like The Ned Rose… it has a bright and persistent finish! I’d like to think I’m not dull but I am most definitely persistent!

Jill| I’m definitely a Pinot Noir in winter – layered, complex and warming, but recently I was back in NZ and found myself partial to The Ned Pinot Gris (and by partial I mean a daily ritual when there!) so in summer, a Pinot Gris – fruity, light and fun.

Crystal is joining us on the judging panel as the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) representative and our lucky Supreme Winner of The Ned Prix de Fashion will receive a $5,000 prize from the VRC (in addition to the $15,000 prize from The Ned) which will see them wined and dined as a part of the 2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s event the 2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival commences with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 29 October, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on the first Tuesday of November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 3 November and Paramount+ Stakes Day on Saturday 5 November.

The first public tickets for the 2022Melbourne Cup Carnival are now available featuring special early bird prices for all four days of Cup Week. Racegoers can take advantage of early bird pricing until 30 June 2022, with General Admission tickets ranging from $42 on Kennedy Oaks Day to $62 for Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, while adult ticket prices for all four days of the 2022 Carnival have been held at 2019 prices and children under 12 accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge – a rarity for a major event.

The four-day carnival hosted by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) at the world-renowned Flemington Racecourse creates an atmosphere unparalleled by any other sporting event in Australia and celebrates all that Melbourne does best: world-class sport, fashion, entertainment and hospitality.

Melbourne Cup Carnival tickets including currently available corporate hospitality packages can be purchased via

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