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Meet the Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field judges | SkyCity Boxing Day Races 2019

Impeccable style is second nature to our Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field judges and so, with the big event taking place at the upcoming SkyCity Boxing Day Races, we asked this year's line-up what catches their eyes on the runway.

First things first, in case you're wondering, this year's judging panel (pictured in the below order) consists of:

  • Sarah Stuart, head stylist at MediaWorks & Prime TV, celebrity stylist & regular fashion judge here at Ellerslie

  • Hannah Marinkovich, Auckland Racing Club Ambassador and winner of New Zealand's 2017 national fashions in the field final, Prix de Fashion

  • Carena West, Auckland Racing Club Ambassador and winner of Australia's 2019 national racewear competition, MYER Fashions on the Field

Plus, making their judging debut in 2019 are:

  • Aleisha Mitchell, winner of New Zealand's 2019 national fashions in the field final, the Ned Prix de Fashion, two-time Boxing Day Fashions in the Field winner (most recently in 2017), Top 10 placegetter in MYER Fashions on the Field (Melbourne Cup Day 2019) and second runner-up (Oaks Day 2019) at Flemington

  • Maxum Alexander - Director of Working Style Ponsonby with over a decade of experience in all things satorial (not quoted in this article)



We sat down with the judges for this year's competition to get the lowdown as to what they want to see on the runway... so YOU can get the best intel.


Q. What are you looking for in a winning outfit?

A winning outfit is modern and considered, yet looks effortless. Of course, ‘effortless’ can be tricky to achieve as there’s a very fine line between looking like you haven't put in enough effort and looking a bit over the top, but I’ve seen a few ladies nail it this season. The SkyCity Boxing Day Races should be a celebration of colour and texture, and I would love to see some experimentation with different shapes and volume.” - Carena West

“It has to stand out in a crowd for all the right reasons. I gravitate to outfits that work beautifully within the dress code of racewear, are a bit unexpected, look effortless but are exquisitely put together. I always love to see a current trend cleverly incorporated into an outfit. And it’s most important to smile – someone that is enjoying themselves will naturally shine on the day.” - Aleisha Mitchell.

“I’m looking for a wow factor and attention to detail. Finishing touches are crucial to a winning outfit. When it comes to the vibe, think summer cocktail/wedding attire, and then multiply that by 10. Boxing Day should offer ample opportunity for experimentation but beware of too much body exposure. The outfit itself could be eye-catching in its shape, fabric, colour or uniqueness, or the millinery you’ve paired it with could be what makes it stand out.” - Sarah Stuart

“A well thought-out and executed look, that has been styled from head to toe. Something that draws inspiration from the latest catwalk trends, that suits the wearer as well as having racewear incorporated into it cohesively.” - Hannah Marinkovich



What have been your favourite looks of the season so far?

“I have seen some wonderful use of accessories including vintage jewellery, contrasting millinery and really interesting shapes in dresses. I hope to see more!” - Carena West

“I love when textures are mixed up in an outfit, or an outfit has the same print used on different base cloths. I adore bows (my daughter’s name is Bow!) so anything with an oversized bow has my heart for sure.” - Aleisha Mitchell

“I loved the styles shown at the Melbourne Cup. Some of my favourite looks were the giant bows, well-tailored tuxedos, and the exaggerated proportions and silhouettes with big puffed shoulders. A highlight has been long-term Auckland Racing Club (ARC) Ambassador, Carena West, who took out the ultimate, national title win over there earlier last month.” - Sarah Stuart

“Bright colours are having a moment, so I would love to see a lot of it on Boxing Day as it is a festive time of year! On the other hand, head to toe neutral looks are also gorgeous. I’m enjoying long hemlines, lots of texture and metallics and accessories inspired by the 1980s.” - Hannah Marinkovich



What do you love about racedays?

“Being a horse lover (and racehorse owner) as well as a follower of fashion, I relish the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy all aspects of the races. I am so lucky that I get to see behind the scenes of the stables, the raceday offices and get to experience the birdcage alongside enjoying everything that the fashion competitions have to offer. It’s the perfect day out!” - Carena West

“For me personally it is the perfect excuse to dress up! I love enjoying the day with friends, in the sun, enjoying the atmosphere. The SkyCity Boxing Day Races are an event my husband and I both enjoy together and what’s not to love about a day that combines fashion with a little betting!” - Aleisha Mitchell

“I live and breathe fashion, so I love seeing the effort everyone puts in for Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field on Boxing Day. I wish it was normal for everyone to dress that way every day. I am honoured to be a part of this spectacular event and love working alongside the very talented designers and milliners that make the event so special.” - Sarah Stuart

I love the atmosphere, especially as everyone is on holiday mode on Boxing Day. I love seeing the effort everyone puts in to dressing up.” - Hannah Marinkovich

Feeling inspired?


Entry into Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field is FREE for all racegoers aged 18yr+ who are attending the SkyCity Boxing Day Races.


There are prizes for the Best Dressed Women, Men, Accessories, Millinery AND this year there's even a "People's Choice" Award that will be judged post-event by fans of our Facebook page that ANYONE on course may be up for.


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