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.
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 Laura Campbell - no stranger to the Supreme sash after winning the competition in 2018 , she's also no stranger to spending her workdays in gumboots going around Waikato farms.
Ahead of the announcement as to who will take out the competition's Supreme Award, we had a chat with Laura to learn a little more about this town & country girl and got the inside word on her Bridgerton-inspired entry.
You're as well used to wearing high heels as you are gumboots by the sounds! Tell us a little more about how you spend your work days.
"I am an Agri Banker, working with farming businesses throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty."
Because I wear flat boots and gumboots during the week, when I have a fashion competition coming up, I break in my shoes by cooking and vacuuming in my heels for the week before!"
Was there anything unusual or unique about your outfit?
"My outfit was edited by Cathy Jane Designs.
"Together we removed parts of the original dress and added the neckline and sleeves.
"It was also six degrees outside when I took my photos in Hamilton Gardens so I’m wearing thermal leggings under my dress that I pushed up over my knees!"
What inspired you for your outfit?
"I was inspired by some TV shows I have been watching – Bridgerton for the dress with the high neck and the ruffles; and Yellowstone, which is a western show about cowboys and gals, which inspired the shape of hat."
You know what it takes to win this competition - how long did it take for you to plan the whole outfit and where did you get the idea for the great colour combo from?
"It was an outfit I have been planning for a couple of months now.
"I tend to work on outfits slowly throughout the year and then find places to wear them later.
"I loved the green of the dress and after a couple of reviews, decided red was the only colour for it in December – just like that my Christmas-themed “Peppermint Patty” was born."
What or who is your style influenced by?
"My style is typically a Disney Princess kind of vibe – I love tulle and sparkle and big skirts to twirl in!
"For this competition I wanted to push myself out of this box and with some encouragement, fell in love with this Bridgerton-meets-the-wild-west-cowgirl look that I ended up with.
"I follow a lot of fashion accounts online and am constantly saving elements of runway looks that I would like to bring into my FOTF looks."
What might people be surprised to know about you?
"People might be surprised to know that I was a real tomboy growing up.
"Mum tried and tried to interest me in ballet and gymnastics and girlie activities but I wanted to be outside in the mud instead!"
What differences did you notice between entering a runway competition vs online?
"I felt I had to consider my accessories more as the judges have more time and opportunity to look at the details.
"But I love the runway and couldn’t give it up, so used my 15 second video to do a “catwalk” in Hamilton Gardens."
What would you say to someone who would consider entering such a competition for the first time?
"They won’t regret it!
"The girls are so lovely, I have met some of my closest friends through this “sport”.
"Look online at the Ellerslie resources of past winners, find a trend you like and incorporate it in a raceday look and reach out to a milliner or fashion competitor near you.
"It’s a really welcoming community and a lot of girls are happy to lend shoes, bags or jewellery and will make sure you have a great day!"
Laura and the four other Grand Finalists each remain in the running to be named 'Supreme Winner' of The Ned Prix de Fashion 2021 and take home the winner-takes-all $20,000 prize package from The Ned and Victoria Racing Club - plus the coveted title of being New Zealand racewear's national titleholder for the 2020/21 season.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the Supreme Winner of The Ned Prix de Fashion which will follow next week.
To see all the finalists, click here
To learn more about the judges and The Ned Prix de Fashion, click here
More Grand Finalist updates will be landing on this blog soon too!