Di Goldsworthy has been a much loved part of the Ellerslie family for many years now and always cuts a stylish figure both on and off the course.
With a day job in the NEWMARKET. team, and love for racing fashion that spans several decades, she really can be deemed to be quite the authority on all things fashions in the field.
Whilst Fashions in the Field was unable to go ahead at this year's SkyCity Boxing Day Races as planned; Di has jumped onboard to help judge the all-new SkyCity Fashions in the Field - 'Online Edition' competition which you can enter from the comfort of your backyard. Hurry though, entries close this coming Monday 31 January 2022!
We sat down for a chat with Di ahead of her return to racewear judging to learn a little more about one of our country's best dressed and most elegant women.
You’re a familiar face around the racecourse but for those who might not know, can you describe your relationship to the races (and Ellerslie)?
My relationship with Ellerslie goes back to my childhood when I attended the races with my paternal grandmother and my parents. My 'fashion' involvement over the years has been with fashions in the field - as an entrant, compère, coordinator and judge.
When you hear the term ‘racing fashion’ – what does that mean for you?
'Racing fashion' to me means stylish, smart, creative, elegant, coordinated fashion... not party wear!
How has racing fashion changed over the years?
Racing has always been synonymous with fashion. It’s hard to believe now but in 1965 when English supermodel Jean Shrimpton was invited to the Melbourne Cup Carnival she shocked the nation by appearing in a simple, white shift dress, four or five inches above her knee. And shock horror (!) no hat, gloves or stockings.
Racing fashion, and fashion in general, is much more forgiving today.
What’s one element you look for in a ‘top tier’ womenswear look? And menswear?
'Top tier' to me is total grooming, coordination and attention to detail, in both mens' and womenswear.
We remember you once telling us a little tip which was that when you judge menswear, if you’re trying to decide between two entrants you look to their shoes and the polished ones will win. Is this something you still look for? Is there a similar element you use to break a tie when judging womenswear?
Grooming plays a huge role in choosing a winner. In the men’s section the polished shoes (and clean heels) are a must and a hat adds the finishing touch.
For the women, again clean shoes (always check heels) - particularly if you have walked on soft grass - groomed hair & nails, and appropriate headwear, of course.
Do you have any tips for taking ‘high street’ dresses/accessories and elevating them to racewear?
High street fashion as opposed to designer can easily be a winner by imaginative accessories and clever coordination.
What would you say to someone thinking about entering Fashions in the Field?
I will always say "just go for it!". It is a great experience and fun. Make sure to relax, enjoy and smile... especially at the judges!
Do you have a favourite raceday? If so, which one?
My favourite day is Vodafone Derby Day.
I am a Chanel girl through and through and find the Derby colours of black and white hard to resist.
Vintage dresses are having a real moment in racewear at the moment in New Zealand – largely because they are usually one of a kind. How should contestants alter the dresses to appeal to a modern sensibility?
Vintage is fun. Modernise by altering a skirt length, adding a belt and achieving a different look with accessories.
What is the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever received?
Quotes from Coco Chanel are great advice - “fashion changes but style endures” and “simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”.
And finally, when you're judging what are three things you always look for from the winning look?
Suitability to the wearer, a coordinated total look and of course, grooming.