Step out in your finest attire for the Investec Derby Festival Ladies' Day on Friday 5th June for the chance to win a fabulous Royal Caribbean cruise for two, worth £5,000! TV personality and radio host Vogue Williams, Hello! Online fashion editor Alex Light, and Royal Caribbean Sales Director UK & Ireland Ben Bouldin will be judging the Hello! Magazine Best Dressed Lady competition.The Investec Derby is one of the highlights of the British summer sporting and social calendar and racegoers never fail to impress judges with the range of fashion on display. Whether you want to grab the attention of the judges in an Alexander McQueen-inspired look or prefer the more classic Kate Middleton style, the judges will be looking for racegoers who are confident in their style, and with a Royal Caribbean cruise up for grabs, it’s certainly worth dressing to impress!Vogue Williams commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be invited to the Investec Derby Festival as a guest judge for the Best Dressed Ladies competition. Epsom Downs Racecourse has an extensive history and is known for having an electric atmosphere which I am very excited to have the chance to experience."For the Best Dressed Ladies competition I am looking for someone that not only looks great but has that little something extra that catches your eye. I’ve heard there are also a lot of boutique designers in Surrey, so try not to limit yourself with just a designer outfit, I love to mix and match designer with high street.”Hello! Magazine co-editor Ruth Sullivan said: "It is one of the most glamorous occasions of the social calendar and we are delighted to be involved. We are looking forward to seeing all the winning looks and playing our part in deciding who is first past the post when it comes to style."Vogue Williams will be taking to the decks shortly after the last race on Ladies Day for a post racing DJ party in Camelots Bar within the Grandstand Enclosure.For further information or to book tickets or hospitality, visit www.epsomderby.co.uk or call 01372 477747. Tickets do sell out so book early to avoid disappointment.
I was kindly invited by Myer and the VRC to once again judge WA state final of Myer Fashions on the Field on my usual "friends and family" visit enroute to Melbourne for the Spring Carnival. Praying for better weather than last year, the rain held off until the close of the competition then proceeded to hammer down, with gusts of wind foiling those with insecure headpieces. But the Melbourne-like weather was probably just a warm welcome for the new WA state finalist, who will no doubt encounter similar conditions at some state during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.I would like to stress just how hard a task it was to judge this year. Ladies of WA, you've certainly stepped up your game. Behind the smiles and giggles with my fellow heat judges, this year's Myer Fashions on the Field ambassador, Rebeccah Panozza, and last year's WA state finalist, Kate Watts, were fluttery nerves and the feeling of sickness at having to dismiss so many beautifully turned-out entrants in the space of a minute or two (we would loved to have deliberated for longer, but as the event was held right beside the mounting yard we were on strict time limits).I've been asked quite a few times what I look for when I judge. The answer is simple: someone who has an outfit not only worthy of winning the WA state final, but worthy of winning the whole competition. In my opinion, there were several women worthy of winning the WA state final but only a few that, once put up against the rest of the state finalists, would stand a genuine chance of securing the national title. When I judged the SA state final with Angela back in March, this was the criteria we used, and this is what enables us to be ruthless when we judge in the early stages. Harsh, I know, but don't we all want a competitive national final?I also look for an outfit that has a degree of "effortlessness" to it; an outfit that doesn't look contrived. I never really understood this notion when I used to compete, because I wanted to win or do well so bad, I put too much effort into my outfits. It's only been in the last few years of non-competition I've stopped putting major effort into my outfits, and have received a lot more compliments than when I tried harder. I'm not saying "don't try", just "don't try as hard" - that degree of desperation really does come through, and at the end of the day, it's just a competition.Back to the event, where Rebeccah, Kate and I miraculously whittled down the 100+ entrants to three preliminary finals before the rest of the esteemed judging panel joined us. Sitting alongside us were Kerry Davenport from Myer, The Amazing Race Australia contestant Sally Yamamoto, Morrison founder Kylie Radford, celebrated designer Aurelio Costarella, The West Australian fashion writer Pip Christmass, and Sunday Times fashion editor Claire Davies. Together we chose 10 fabulous ladies to compete in the WA state final, all of whom sported ensembles of a very high standard.The field seemed to be divided into full, feminine skirts (think Betty from Mad Men) and slim-cut, midi pencil skirts (more like Joan). Exposed knees were definitely out, placing the attention on ankles and calves - so beautiful shoes were a must. Structural headpieces ruled the day, with hats from Perth millinery favourite Reny Kestel adorning several of the finalists.One of those clients, Janey McGregor, was named as the second runner-up, wearing a pretty pastel pink skirt with a moody charcoal grey floral top, and a coordinating pastel pink headpiece.First runner-up was a familiar face: Jaydee Paino, the 2010 national winner of Myer Fashions on the Field. Proving she still has what it takes to out-do, out-dress and out-glam the majority of the field, the Queenslander almost stole the WA winner's sash in an A-line, panelled frock in square lace and spot mesh by in-the-know London label, Self-Portrait, paired with a stunning petal-brimmed boater by Amanda Macor.But the West Australian crowd was pleased to see the WA winner's sash bestowed upon a local entrant, Northam-based real estate agent Nikki Gogan. Nikki, who is no stranger to Fashions on the Field or to Flemington's Melbourne Cup Carnival, even made the Derby Day final last year but went one better this year in her home state, wearing voluminous Maticevski and a bespoke Reny Kestel hat.She cleverly requested the Maticevski team to alter her dress, as it originally featured a large, midriff cut-out (big racing no-no), which they filled in with the same fabric as the shoulder panels. Reny produced a two-tone wicker straw boater with a Jekyll and Hyde-like personality to complement the Maticevski dress (florals on the front, geometry on the back for both designs), and the outfit was completed with an Olga Berg clutch and Louboutin poppy-red pumps.Forsaking her fiance, Nikki will now travel to Melbourne for a "trip of a lifetime" to the Melbourne Cup Carnival with her race-loving sister, Dani, where she will compete in the national final on Oaks Day.Although all of the interstate finals have now been completed, there is still time to enter Myer Fashions on the Field during the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington on Derby, Cup and Oaks days. Ensure you register online first, and by October 30 at 5pm EDST to enter as on-the-day registrations are very limited.By Lisa Tan
As the racing season winds to a close in Australia, it's just starting to get into gear here in the UK. June's first major racing action comes from the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse, which starts tomorrow with the fillies' classic, the Oaks.Fillies of the two-legged variety will also be competing for honours in the Harvey Nichols Best Dressed competition, which will award the most stylish with a generous £5,000 shopping spree at the very classy Harvey Nichols department store in Knightsbridge.Last year's lucky winner was Leigh Johnson, who scooped the coveted prize with an elegant Roland Mouret form-fitting dress and a hat she made herself, featuring an explosion of bold feathers.Harvey Nichols scouts will be roaming the racecourse and selecting ladies to participate in the competition. Finalists will be selected from the chosen participants before this year's winner is determined by head judge Mariella Tandy, Executive Fashion and Retail Editor for Tatler UK. Mariella says she will be " looking for ladies who are elegant, confident and know their own personal style.If you fancy your fashion skills up to the challenge, here are all the details you need to make your ladies' day a stylish success.Where: Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey KT18 5LQ.When: June 6, 2014 - Oaks Day. If you'd like to be headhunted by a Harvey Nichols scout, make sure you get yourself noticed before 1pm. The final judging will take place around 3pm and will air live on Channel 4.Prize: £5,000 to spend at Harvey Nichols for the deserving winner.For further info: visit the Investec Derby Festival site and the Epsom Downs Racecourse site.Photos courtesy of Epsom Downs Racecourse.By Lisa Tan