December 14th: race day at Te Rapa – Hamilton
This is always a favourite of mine in the race day calender. Usually a very good turnout, there are loads of corporate x mas dos …tents and gazebos everywhere. The course is packed, a buzzing atmosphere and everybody is determined to have a great day out. They always manage to get great sponsors on board, so the Fashion in the Fields competition is popular with those who love to dress up and give it a crack on the catwalk.
As it goes it’s always a busy time for me leading up to the day ( it’s a busy time of the year anyway). Being a milliner makes going to the races a “work outing‘, but I also love the opportunity to dress up and look at the fabulous fashion fillies on the day!
Custom orders have priority and my outfit usually comes in at the last minute, even though I plan to get organized really early…every year..yeah right!
As usual after the last hat pick up the day before I began to seriously work on my hat. The concept..or shall I say the colours were there, alas it just didn’t happen. I love the outfit which was tailor made for me and decided it’s too good to spoil it with a hat that wasn’t up to scratch. It will get an outing later in the month.
So, at the eleventh hour I decided on another dress which I had bought a couple of months ago.
I usually tend to wear fitting garments, a dress or suit with a pencil skirt, but when I spotted this dress in a shop I just fell in love with the colours. It just screams “summer”! And I must say – it was a welcome change from my usual style ( with the spanx underwear), the hot weather was certainly more bearable for someone my age…if you get my drift Wearing some wedge heels also proved a good decision, walking in high heels on grass is not an easy feat with constantly trying not to sink into it. On the other hand it’s a good workout for the calves!
With the last minute change of mind came the “last minute hat” challenge. I wanted to pick up on the fuchsia in the dress, but having to be careful what colour I put against my red hair I opted to put it on a neutral, off white parisisal . The fuchsia comes in with a folded, hand dyed silk abaca floral detail. If I wanted to be extra trendy I could call the colour “Radiant Orchid” – the Pantone spring colour of 2014. Add a quill for a bit of extra. DONE!
So, off to the races ( with plenty of sunscreen slopped on). The day is always more fun with a bunch of like minded people, I knew there were a few girls on course wearing a Monika Neuhauser Millinery hat, most of them entering in the fashion competition. Meeting up with them before hand, we had time for a chat, photos taken and keeping hydrated. Champagne was flowing, but cold water was my good friend this day. Not to worry, I did have some bubbly later!
Not long until all the fashionable ladies met at the fashion tent, each their number in hand and lined up. I was entering also, one has to lead by good example
Kylie Bax was co-mcing the event. When I looked at the lineup I counted 7 ladies wearing MNM on their heads which was quite a thrill for me. In the end 5 of them made it to the top 8 finalists. YAY!!!!
This is what I especially love about my job: I get to work with a variety of woman and different outfits. My job is to provide them with an individual design to compliment the outfit, personality, age and taste. It never gets boring, no 2 hats are exactly the same.
The day ended especially sweet: Elly Campbell was the big winner of the day in her white 2 piece with navy and charteuse accents. Her hat was a saucer style shape made of navy blue vintage straw braid with navy satin loops and 2 quills which formed a stylised heart shape.
Thanks to the wonderful sponsorship of “Diamond Jewellers” in Victoria Street, Hamilton she won this exquisite hand crafted 18ct yellow gold natural ruby and diamond dress ring, worth $3195! Lucky girl
I go to a few race meetings – or shall I say Fashion in the Fields events. Te Rapa Racecourse always puts on a fabulous day and I especially appreciate the fact that they not only acknowledge the winner(s) with great prizes, but they reward ALL the finalists with a lovely sash and a prize to take away, be it a bottle of nice perfume or a voucher. It takes a bit of effort to get a race day outfit together not to mention standing and waiting for quite some time on what can be a hot day. So to give all the finalists a token of appreciation is a wonderful gesture indeed. Some of the other event planners could perhaps take note. It’s a bit sad if you see a big line up of nicely dressed ladies, who made the effort to groom and present themselves the best they can, made it to the finals…and than there is “one winner takes it all”.
All in all – a fabulous day was had by all, not just the fashion lovers. Thousands of people had a great day out, enjoying a summers day watching the horses and socialising with family, friends and work colleagues.
On a funny note: I almost always have my race day outfits made for me. Combine the dress I bought and Murphy’s law…of course there was another lady wearing exactly the same. When we spotted each other ( which due to the colours wasn’t hard) we smiled at each other. She came up to me, turns out she is one of my facebook likers and follows my hats. We agreed that we both have exceptionally good taste! And she did look lovely in the dress . I spotted her a couple of times during the day and came to call her “my twin”
P.s. after the long and hot day, coming home to a lovely cool pool was the ultimate treat!