Lily Simons | Meet the 2023 The Ned Prix de Fashion Qualifiers

17 Apr 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

2023 is Lily Simons’ second year qualifying for The Ned Prix de Fashion, having only started her fashions in the field journey two seasons ago.

Lily represents Waikato Racing Club in the regional final this year after qualifying at ATR Derby Day held at Te Rapa Racecourse this year due to Ellerslie’s track renovation.

We chat to Lily in advance of this year’s national fashions in the field final. Read on for more…


Despite only recently joining the fashions in the field community, Lily is no stranger to a sash.


Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got planned for your entry into this year’s The Ned Prix de Fashion?

My favourite thing is that it’s a different look for me. It’s maybe not what I would have expected to have loved and I really wanted to be able to showcase my personality. This outfit is my favourite for different reasons than previous ones.

Who are your fashion icons when it comes to racewear?

I don’t think I have one that I can name, but I love following the Australian girls as well as our NZ girls. We are all so different so I find inspiration from all sorts of sources.

I love following designers who are doing things differently all over the world. I scroll for hours and I always try to find things that speak to me. I have lots of screenshots of different design aspects I love.

My mum is always involved and I love showing her my ideas. She has been a huge part of my journey in fashions and I am pretty lucky.

Lily snapped on stage in a winning outfit at Pukekohe Park this season.


What’s your favourite trend you are seeing in racing fashion at the moment?

Lots of different lengths and silhouettes.

I am also loving all the textures and people clashing more colours and patterns.

What are your top tips for someone who’s just starting out in fashions in the field?

Be prepared, I have had so many outfits not work as I was not prepared.

You also have to think about the whole look and the polish. Think about your look as one cohesive look.

Yes the fun is in the win but equally important is the love and support you show others. You may think your look is the best, but not everyone will. Always run your own race.

Can you tell us a little bit about the outfit you qualified in?

It was an off-the-rack dress from a UK brand that my mum and I changed ever so slightly. I had a vision of sequins and ruffles and I truly think I manifested it! My milliner knows my sense of style and we wanted it to be simple but effective. Which is hard to do with sequins and ruffles.

It was a pretty modern look for me and a departure from my usual, but it worked out.

I definitely took a risk but I am glad I did. I stayed true to myself and I was super proud of the outcome.

Lily at Te Rapa Racecourse in her qualifying look.


What do you love about entering fashions in the field competitions?

I think it’s a mix of things that keep me coming back to enter more, it changes every time I compete.

I love the friendships I have made and the people I have met. I live in the South Island so the kindness I have been shown with places to stay and dinners out with friends makes me feel lucky to have found these women.

I would be lying if I said I don’t love a sash, but it has to be more than just that. It’s the love and fun that I have found in my fashion community.


Find your people and hold them tight.



When I won on Derby Day, my friends cheered for me so loudly. Most of them made the top 10 as well and it was in that moment that I knew I was with the right people.

What are some of your ‘must do’ rules for a racewear look?

Don’t be afraid to be you. Dress for you and only you. Make sure you photo grid your looks to see if they work. Don’t tell your husband how much stuff you may or may not send back and experiment with everything. Don’t forget to nail the small things.”

What’s your favourite part of the racing season?

Obviously The Ned Prix de Fashion! But ATR Derby Day was so much fun this year! I seem to have luck in black and white as that’s how I qualified both this year and last year.”

A close up of Lily’s look that she qualified in last year. “I seem to have luck in black and white” she says.


Are there any trends you’ve seen on the runway or high street this year that you’d like to see make an appearance on the racing fashion stage?

I love seeing all the volume in garments that are not just in a sleeve and the return of a bubble hem that makes me excited.

If you could visit any raceday in the world, which one would it be?

The Melbourne Cup Carnival, I would love to compete at all 3 days.

The winner-takes-all prize package of The Ned Prix de Fashion features a $5,000 prize from Victoria Racing Club which includes a trip for two to the Melbourne Cup Carnival*. Pictured above are our 2021 and 2022 The Ned Prix de Fashion Supreme Winners taking advantage of this part of the prize oncourse at Flemington.


How do you think Kiwi racewear differs from that around the world?

I think we are bold and beautiful. We tend to see people trying new things at each raceday. I would say it’s hard to tell what people will wear as it’s always new and different. I like that we take risks that may not always land, but we do it in a way that’s true to who we are.

Another of Lily’s gorgeous raceday ensembles.



The Ned Prix de Fashion is New Zealand’s national fashions in the field final. There’s still time to enter the opening round with entries closing on the 23rd of April.

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