As the countdown to this season's national fashions in the field final - The Ned Prix de Fashion - continues, we caught up with regional finalist Pauline Pattullo who earned her spot winning Wellington Racing Club's qualifier.
Is this your first time qualifying?
Yes, it’s my first time qualifying. I am over the moon to have qualified and excited to represent Wellington Racing Club. It has been on my bucket list to achieve for a few years now so to have finally done so is really pleasing.
How long have you been entering fashions in the field competitions?
My mum encouraged me to enter my first one at Addington in 2015 where I made the semi-finals and I have been hooked ever since. Those seven years have gone far too fast though.
What do you enjoy most about fashions in the field competitions?
For me it’s the excitement of seeing everyone else and what ensemble they have created. The fashions in the field competition environment is so supportive and encouraging of everyone and I love that – it’s always an enjoyable day out. I also really enjoy seeing the reactions of people when they win and celebrating those successes with them. I think it’s pretty awesome that we can go all over the world with it as well.
Outside of raceday fashion, do you like to dress up in your normal day-to-day life or is this an anomaly?
It really is an anomaly. Day-to-day you’ll find me in stubbies and shirt over the summer and Stoney Creek gear in the winter. My everyday life/look is a polar opposite to the fashions in the field scene, but I do love any occasion to get dressed up.
What do you do for a day job?
This always makes people laugh when they ask me at the races, or it takes them by surprise – I am a sheep and beef farmer on Banks Peninsula as well as working part-time for a farming corporation in Southland as their Livestock Genetics Manager specialising in deer performance and reproduction.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
I can’t sew! I wish I could, and I have tried but I was advised to sit at the back of the home economics class. I can drive a bulldozer though.
Can you give us a hint about what you might be wearing for The Ned Prix de Fashion
At the minute I have a couple of outfits on the go and will decide a little closer to the date which one I will wear once they’re complete.
Do you follow horse racing as well, or is fashions in the field where it’s at for you on raceday?
I do. I breed and race standardbreds and have a small share in a galloper. You’ll often find me at the races when there’s no fashion events, but I love when the two collide.
Do you consider yourself a trendsetter or follower?
I think I am a bit of both. I do like pushing the boundaries but if there’s a trend of the season, I’ll often incorporate this into an outfit with my own spin on it. I do like to wear what suits me though and this is more influential than a trend that perhaps doesn’t suit me.
What has been your favourite raceday look that you’ve worn?
Hard to choose, I really loved my Wellington outfit that I qualified in but also loved my Riccarton 2021outfit and had so much fun putting this look together, it was so different with the neoprene, ombre and cut-outs.
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?
Honestly reach out to someone involved! We love new faces and welcoming people to competitions. I especially love the maiden or newcomer categories that a lot of clubs are now offering - they're a great starting point for people keen on competing. Milliners are also great; I have wonderful relationships with mine who often see my whole look before anyone else and are more than forthcoming with advice.
Do you have any interesting or funny things to share about your fashions in the field career or outfits?
The headpiece I had made originally for my qualifying outfit didn’t work at all with the dress when it arrived. I ended up opting for a piece of millinery that I had for a previous outfit that I had just tried on to check the shape - it really surprised me as to how well it worked and gave the outfit the pop it needed.
I also almost forgot to enter Wellington's competition [the won she won] and entered on the final day of entries being open.
Often in the September/October period I’ll put on an outfit and walk over to my parents for their opinion – I’ve never been caught yet by anyone visiting the farm, but I’d move extremely fast if someone came into the yard.
Complete this: “To me, fashions in the field is…” my creative outlet”
What’s one trend or colour you’ve seen in fashions in the field competitions this year (in New Zealand or Australia) that you’ve loved?
OMBRE! I adore it.
What do you think makes New Zealand’s racewear scene different to anywhere else in the world?
I think the New Zealand FOTF scene is innovative and very creative. We create our own trends and have some of the most fashion forward fashionistas that create some of those trends – I guess you could say there is a bit of kiwi ingenuity and I think this is well showcased by our milliners as well.
The Ned Prix de Fashion is New Zealand's national fashions in the field final. Pre-qualifiers have until Friday 27 May to enter.