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Carena West and THAT big Melbourne Cup win

One of our ambassadors, Carena West, took out the top racewear prize in Australia this month when she was named winner of Victoria Racing Club's MYER Fashions on the Field, seeing her become the national winner.


Now that she's back home in Auckland, we had a chat to her about about that massive feat - learning more about her stunning outfit which saw her win more than $100,000 in prizes, including a new Lexus, diamond jewellery and fashion vouchers.

Photo Credit: Victoria Racing Club

What made you decide to enter the big fashion competition in Melbourne?

I love the concept of racing fashion; it’s in a league of its own. These days, there aren’t many opportunities to really dress up - especially those where you can coordinate your outfit with beautiful millinery.


I decided to enter because I really wanted to test my sewing and styling skills, so I made the dress myself and paired it with some custom millinery by the very talented Claire Hahn, who matched the headwear shade to the green accents on the dress.



How long did it take you to put the outfit together?

I spent a few months planning the outfit, but most of that time was spent thinking about what I was going to do rather than actually doing anything!


I’d recently watched the full series of Mad Men with my sister Bex, and I definitely think you can see the 60’s inspiration coming through!


The shoes were a last minute purchase though; I only bought them the day before.



Did you pay close attention to any key trends when creating your outfit?

I used the cue of “bold colour” that is seen everywhere at Melbourne Cup, and made sure that my bag and heels were modern so as not to make my outfit too vintage looking. Other than that I just went with my gut.



The dress fabric is really unusual, tell us about it…

The fabric was a vintage traditional Uzbek dress, which I found on Etsy for only $60.


When it arrived it was basically a shapeless sack with brown sleeves, but the fabric was so beautiful I knew I would be able to make something striking out of it.



As founder of Clique Fitness, are you more likely to be found in activewear when you’re not glammed up for the races?

Yes! I spend 99 per cent of my life in activewear. Maybe that’s why I relish the opportunity to dress up.



Congratulations on your pregnancy and on being Australia's first pregnant national fashions on the field winner. Was it a tough day with a baby on board?

It actually was not as tough as I thought it might be. I’m pretty accustomed to running around in heels and the whole week is such a buzz that I didn’t really notice.


I’m sure there was a bit of adrenaline pumping around my body from the competition as well!

Carena and her keen eye for racewear will be at the SkyCity Boxing Day Races when she sits on the panel for our Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field competition which has both a men & womenswear division.


This competition will see both 1st & 2nd placegetters in the womenswear division both qualifying for the regional final of New Zealand's own fashions in the field final, The Ned Prix de Fashion, which is to be held here on Saturday 29 February 2020 as part of Vodafone Derby Day.


© 2020 Ellerslie

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