Sara Allpress | Meet The Ned Prix de Fashion Qualifiers

Is the third time the charm for The Ned Prix de Fashion qualifier Sara Allpress? Sara qualified for this year's edition of the national fashions in the field final after taking out one of the top spots in our recent Adashiko Fashion Qualifiers, held virtually. Meet Sara below...

Sara pictured in her entry to The Ned Prix de Fashion 2021

Tell us a bit about your The Ned Prix de Fashion journey thus far...

I've been really fortunate to qualify for three years now, and make the 'Top 5' for two years. Every time it feels just as special as the last. My first qualification came on Vodafone Derby day 2020 where I qualified on the day and then went through to the regional finals and then was selected as a finalist. This was such a surreal day.

For the second year I qualified at the Waikato Racing Club, in a dress I made for myself. I represented Waikato in the final and again was selected as part of the top 5, wearing what is now infamously known as my apple martini dress.

This year I qualified again through Vodafone Derby Day in the virtual Adashiko Fashion Qualifiers, so I now go onto represent Ellerslie again for a 'round two'.

Sara's entry into our Boxing Day competition, SkyCity Fashions in the Field | The Virtual Edition

Can you give us a hint about what you might be wearing for this year's edition of The Ned Prix de Fashion?

For the regional final I’m incorporating two vintage dresses together. Both made from the same fabric but feature two different silhouettes. One dress was brought here in NZ and another came from Portland.

It’s been a restoration process that’s kept me busy for a few months. Picking it up now and again to do small parts on it. Both had silk fade which needed to be removed and a new dress made with meticulous planning and cutting out to make sure I had enough fabric. I’ve enjoyed the process but will be happy when it’s all done.

What do you think makes New Zealand’s racewear scene different to anywhere else in the world?

I like to think New Zealanders like to take risks rather than just following trends, we create our own.

One of Sara's pieces from her business 'Accentuate Bikinis'

Outside of raceday fashion, do you like to dress up in your normal day-to-day life or is this an anomaly?

As many know, my day to day life is full of glitz, glamor, sparkles and feathers. I own a business named Accentuate Bikinis, where I design and create competition bikinis and costumes for bodybuilders. So, instead of me getting dressed up I get to help others dress up for a different type of competition.

My day to day attire consists of anything that’s comfortable to wear at a sewing machine. I used to have the time to plan outfits out on a daily basis, but in between running a business and three kids I often choose things that are easy such as a graphic tee and jeans if I’m not at working.

Where you get your fashions in the field inspiration from?

Mostly I find myself being attracted to certain colours or aspects of a design. If the item has a cool feature or interesting fabric I find myself wanting to create a look around that. I’m not to bothered by trends per say, and I like to be a little different.

Sara has her virtual entries down pat

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

This is a hard one, I have two favourites! My Prix outfit from last year aptly named the apple martini dress was a dream to wear. At that point I really hadn’t seen that colour worn on the fashion of the field stage and when I saw it I was like I need to wear this!

My other favourite outfit was my recent derby outfit. This was so close to never being worn. The day of the photo shoot I just didn’t like the look I had planned. But a few tweaks later, a different belt, some bow ties glued to my heels made for a really memorable outfit. My photos came together really well due to the Manawatu wind playing it’s part, giving the ensemble movement and capturing the eyes of the judges.

Left: The infamous 'apple martini dress'. Right: Sara's recent Derby outfit that she qualified in.

What’s one trend you’ve seen in fashions in the field competitions this year that you’ve loved?

The resurgence of vintage making a comeback has been wonderful to see. For me, I’ve found over the last two years a lot of mainstream designers have moved away from creating special occasion garments due to events not happening. They’ve had to shift focus and create collections around comfort rather than really pushing boundaries and being innovative, as no one was really purchasing special occasion garments as events were canceled world wide.

Due to this, I found it increasingly hard to be drawn to anything in particular so turned my attention to vintage finds this year. It’s actually been really rewarding altering some of my vintage finds and bringing them in line with todays trends, and what I like to wear. The key to vintage is to re work it or pick an item that is timeless. A simple hem, or added belt can make the difference and take a look that could appear old fashioned into 2022.

Sara walking the runway here at Ellerslie on Vodafone Derby Day 2020, where she went on to be one of the 'Top 5' in that edition of 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.