Lily Simons | Meet The Ned Prix de Fashion Qualifiers

Lily Simons is a first-time qualifier in The Ned Prix de Fashion, having only started her fashions in the field journey in the past six months. Will a fresh perspective on racing take her all the way as she represents Ellerslie in the regional final? We chat to Lily to find out more...

One of Lily's gorgeous (and qualifying!) competition looks

We know this your first time qualifying, how does it feel?

Yes this is my first ever time. I have actually only been entering fashions in the field competitions for six months, so it's all very new to me! I feel so excited and really honoured to be up there with some amazing woman. I cried tears of joy and excitement when I qualified - there were so many emotions.

Another of Lily's gorgeous raceday looks

What do you enjoy most about fashions in the field competitions?

Creating the whole look from shoes to millinery. I am completely obsessed. It takes hours of planning and hunting but I love it.

Also, working alongside my mum who has made some of my dresses and always helps me make things my own. She came to my first competition and had made that dress, which I happened to win 'Maiden of the Carnival' in . She is actually doing a millinery course. I love her dearly and she is my biggest supporter.

Another close-up of some detailing from another of Lily's raceday looks

Outside of raceday fashion, do you like to dress up in your normal day-to-day life?

Yes I love to be creative and dress up! I play with makeup and outfit ideas daily.

What do you do for a day job?

I am a recruitment team leader in health care.

What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

I have four-year-old twin boys who call my dress-ups the "princess competition". They always say I look beautiful and I am so very blessed. I wanted girls but now I am so lucky to have such beautiful boys.

Says Lily, "I am obsessed with Pinterest and also make sure to research previous winners on Instagram."

Where you get your fashions in the field inspiration from?

I am obsessed with Pinterest and also make sure to research previous winners on Instagram. I love seeing what detail they used to make something simple seem so effortless and glam.

Can you give us a hint about what you might be wearing for the regional final of The Ned Prix de Fashion?

I am doing a vintage dress and, of course, Claire Hahn millinery.

Do you consider yourself a trendsetter or follower?

I'd like to think trendsetter but I also appreciate that we are all influenced by those we admire.

What has been your favourite raceday look that you’ve worn?

Definitely my green ensemble that I wore locally for a competition with my beautiful millinery custom made by Claire Hahn. I am still obsessed with this look.

What advice would you give to people keen to start entering fashions in the field competitions but who aren’t quite sure where to start?

Reach out to people on Instagram who compete locally and internationally. That’s what I did and I have made long term friendships from it. The women who have supported me on this journey have been incredible.

Don’t be scared to just give it a go.

You will meet beautiful people who will support you on your journey and you will have so much fun in the process.

Do you have any stories to share as part of your lead-up to The Ned Prix de Fashion?

I live in Canterbury and my hats are all delivered from Auckland. I guess you could say that the courier driver had some "fun" with my hat box for the huge, beautiful hat I wore to qualify for The Ned Prix de Fashion.

I spent hours trying to get it [the hat] flat again with books and trying to re-mould it - even my husband had a go! I also had lots of chats with Claire [Hahn, milliner] to help make it all work and she assured me that things like this are a good omen. I wasn’t so sure, but I managed to qualify and she was my first call so she was right! I actually cried with excitement [after qualifying] and am now learning to trust the process.

Complete this: “To me, fashions in the field is…”

A chance to be someone else for the day.

Is there a trend that you have seen in fashions in the field competitions this year that you have loved?

Vintage! It’s sustainable and so much fun. I also think we are stepping away from the classic look and stepping into a more modern fit which is super exciting to see. I may even be incorporating this trend into my outfit for The Ned Prix de Fashion.


The Ned Prix de Fashion is New Zealand's national fashions in the field final. Pre-qualifiers have until Friday 27 May to enter.