FASHION | Meet Abby Button - Grand Finalist in The Ned Prix de Fashion 2021

New Zealand's national fashions in the field final, The Ned Prix de Fashion, turned into a virtual competition this season due to a lockdown in Auckland forcing the cancellation of the planned event.

Abby's gorgeous outfit that saw her become a Grand Finalist in The Ned Prix de Fashion
Abby's gorgeous outfit that saw her become a Grand Finalist in The Ned Prix de Fashion

The competition featured 15 finalists from around the country who had each won a qualifying competition at a raceday around New Zealand over the spring / summer and went on to submit images and an optional video of their outfit (or "entry").

Our panel of eight judges from New Zealand and Australia then had the unenviable task of narrowing the field down to five grand finalists - one of whom is Abby Button - a visual merchandiser for a popular clothing brand who runs her own styling business with the backing of a fashion degree.

Ahead of the announcement as to who will take out the competition's Supreme Award, we had a chat with Abby to learn a little more about this kiwi lass whose life is entrenched in fashion - plus we got the inside info on her gorgeous entry.

You are well and truly living in the world of fashion - tell us a little more about how you spend your work days.

"I work as the Witchery Visual Merchandiser for Christchurch part-time, as well as running a fashion styling business with services that include style consultations, wardrobe audits, personal shopping and editorial styling.

"I have a degree in fashion design and I studied fashion styling in Melbourne too - so I love all aspects of fashion and enjoy and keep busy working in a few different areas of the industry.

"My time is also spent making all my own outfits for the competitions I enter."

Was there anything unusual or unique about your outfit?

Abby Button
Abby cut her long hair specifically for the photo shoot

"I think something unique about my outfit is my incredible hat made by Ali Moor.

"Often I make my own hats but for this special occasion I really wanted to work with Ali as I have loved her work for the longest time!

"I love the raffia flowers she made and then I ended up doing raffia stitching around the hat to finish it off.

"It was very special for me to be able to work with her and wear her work.

"Also, I think it was a bit unique to wear long elbow glove. Most gloves are definitely done and dusted for fashions on the field (FOTF) but I have noticed over the past few months that long gloves are making a comeback in fashion.

"It was definitely a bit of a risk and something I was hesitant about, but I think it was worth the risk as I think it completed my overall look."

What inspired you for your outfit?

"The concept of weaving modern and classic racewear together was my inspiration for this outfit.

"I really wanted to incorporate current trends and yet still be a little classic."

You won your qualifier in Wellington and from there, had a few months to pull get your outfit for The Ned Prix de Fashion together. How long did it take for you to plan the whole thing and where did you get the idea for the fun use of colour?

Abby Button
The gorgeous detailing of Abby's entry

"I started planning my outfit the night I qualified at Wellington Cup. I got back to my hotel and started brainstorming with my husband and my friend.

"I had so many ideas for my outfit and actually started to make another design before coming back to this idea.

"I noticed orange being very "in" this season, plus it's a colour I don't normally wear so I thought it would be special to wear something different for me.

"I actually designed this outfit with another fabric in mind and when I went to go and pick it up, it had sold out which was gutting!

"I spent many days looking for something similar and was over the moon when I found this fabric in a little fabric shop in Christchurch!"

What or who is your style influenced by?

"My style has always been inspired by colour.

"I am a colour lover and I am always experimenting with different colour combinations and textures."

What might people be surprised to know about you?

"That I kinda fell into FOTF by working behind-the-scenes dressing models when I was 16 at the old fashion shows that Addington Raceway used to run in between their FOTF heats.

"I just remember watching the competition and falling in love with racing fashion and as soon as I turned 18 I started going along myself and entering.

"I love learning more and more about horse racing every race meet I go to, but fashion was what first got me to the track.

"Oh and that I cut my long hair off the morning of the photo shoot especially for this outfit!"