I was very excited for this interview with Crystal Kimber, the 2017 National FOTF Winner, as she is someone whose style and passion for Fashions on the Field I have admired for many years.

Crystal and I started entering FOTF around the same time, and we have crossed paths (stages) many times. In fact, I’ve come runner up to Crystal in two State Finals. The first was the 2013 QLD State Final, followed by the 2017 NSW State Final, where she then went on to take home the National Win!!

milano imai and crystal kimber fashions on the field state finals

Crystal and I at the 2013 QLD State Final and 2017 NSW State Final.

Crystal always has a new outfit for every event she enters (I have no idea how you do it!), most of which she works closely with her mum, Gail Taylor to create. I love the bond between Crystal and her mum and everything they put together! Crystal is always up to date with the current trends, especially accessory trends and never puts a fashion foot wrong.

Crystal Kimber | National Winner 2017

Embed from Getty Images

Fashion Related Questions

How long have you been entering FOTF? Number of events per year?

I’ve been entering FOTF for about 6 years. When I first started I would enter once or twice a year but by my third year I was entering about 10. It’s an addiction! In recent years, I have paired it back again as my full time job is quite demanding.

crystal kimber wearing pink purple dress

black and white tulle dress for derby day

Describe your National winning outfit and where you got the idea/inspiration?

My winning dress was probably one of my cheapest outfits yet! It was made from my Grandma’s vintage skirt with raffia embellished flowers, paired back with statement earrings, Bag Queen ring handle bag, pink suede heels and a pink crown headpiece – a little D&G inspired.

Grandma’s vintage skirt with raffia embellished flowers

Image: @wendellt @peoplestyleplace

I always wanted to make the skirt into a dress as a kid and when my grandma passed and left me the skirt I knew we had to make it into something special. The dress remained unfinished for months as the neckline had me stumped. It was only 3 weeks out from the competition that I found the perfect neckline, inspired by Caroline Herrera.

dress neckline shape - story behind outfit

Image: Caroline Herrera, @wendellt @peoplestyleplace

What was it like winning the national final? Recreate the moment for us.

I absolutely couldn’t believe it when I heard my number. I truly thought after they announced the runner up (who I thought might win) that Queensland was then going to take it out. I was in absolute shock and I just wanted my mum up on the stage with me to celebrate.

2017 fotf national winner crystal kimber trophy stage

It really was a dream come true, as I dreamt of that moment since I was 18. I remember watching the FOTF final on TV when I was in high school and wanted to be that girl one day. Never did I think it would happen!

crystal kimber and red lexus car prize

Has your life changed in any way since taking out the winning sash?

After winning I had some really amazing opportunities with the VRC. In March last year, I was invited to judge at Auckland Cup as the VRC representative, which was such a cool experience being able to travel overseas to judge and also feature on New Zealand television.

crystal kimber at Auckland Cup black dress

A trip to NZ representing the VRC at the Prix De Fashion FOTF competition.

I also had the privilege of sitting on the judging panel during the Spring Carnival for 3 of the days including the National Final. Sitting next to Jen Hawkins was definitely a highlight and it was so special being able to pick the next National winner.

crystal kimber and jennifer hawkins

cystal kimber 2018 flemington spring carnival powder blue suit pink bow headpiece

What do you like most about FOTF? 

For me there’s 2 big reasons why I love FOTF. Firstly, it’s the amazing relationship it’s created for my Mum and I. We are so close, chat every day and have travelled to some amazing places around the world thanks to racing.

crystal kimber winning prize to royal ascot white skirt mint top

The outfit that won Crystal a trip to Royal Ascot, and Crystal and her mum attending the Royal Ascot.

It’s also the incredible people I’ve met from my first event and every event since that I’m friends with now. I discovered FOTF when I was a little bit lost after dropping out of fashion design. I always dreamt of studying fashion and had the worst experience at Uni so I lost the passion to sew and design. After randomly entering FOTF at Caulfield 2011 I found an amazing community who inspired me again!

Will you continue to enter FOTF competitions?

You can’t keep me away from FOTF! Last year I entered just the 3 events, I might do a few more this year.

derby day black and white style

Crystal’s first FOTF comp back after winning the National Title.

rainbow coloured skirt stripes stephanie spencer pink boater

Crystal’s second FOTF comp back after winning the National Title.

Who are your favourite milliners and racewear brands/stores?

In Australia we are so lucky to have so many amazing milliners! Locally I love, Stephanie Spencer, Rebecca Share, Millinery Jill and Allport Millinery. Internationally – Ian Bennett. His craftsmanship is incredible and I was lucky enough to wear a piece of his last year to Derby Day.

fashion icon races

Ian Bennet Hat- @crystalkimber, Stephanie Spencer Hat- @vogueaustralia

In terms of fashion designers, I look a lot to international runways for inspiration, in particular Dior, Johanna Ortiz, Caroline Herrera and Caroline Constas. Locally Acler and Maticevski definitely capture my attention for their beautiful silhouettes and thick flattering fabrications.

shiny black dress crystal kimber

Image: @thefrenchphotographer

For shopping, I always look to Matches Fashion, Net-a-porter, The Outnet and Moda Operandi – I live for their sales twice a year!

What advice would you give to other race goers (myself included!) who dream of one day becoming the national winner?

Keep entering with the hope of winning one day but don’t let that be the reason why you enter. Enjoy the process, the build-up of excitement to the day and then the sheer joy of getting up there and strutting your stuff. Your happiness and confidence will shine through to the judges and I think this is what makes you stand out ahead of a lot of other competitors.

2017 fotf state finalists

Away from the Track

Where do you currently live? What do you like most about the city/town?

I currently live in Cremorne, Victoria. I love living in Melbourne and although so many of my friends have moved overseas or interstate, it’s honestly my favourite place in the world to live. There’s amazing culture; galleries, music, sport, amazing food, cool bars and mostly importantly friendly people!

Where do you work? Why did you choose that profession?

I currently work for a large beauty group where I am the Senior Digital Manager for 5 brands across cosmetics and skincare. Previously I always worked in fashion, however about a year ago I was keen for a change of industries. Growing up I always knew I wanted to work in Fashion, originally in design and then I realised I had a huge passion for Marketing.

interview marketing fashion conversation between women

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

For me, winning the Myer Fashions on The Field Competition is something I’m really proud about as it was a goal I set and worked hard to achieve. I didn’t win the first time I made the National Final but I persevered and managed to get a second opportunity years later.

2013 national finalists myer fotf

I’m probably most proud about the close network of friends I surround myself with as we all support and encourage each other even if some live half way across the world. I wouldn’t be who I am without their constant support.

friends girls night out crystal kimber

What do you like doing in your spare time?

For me I love getting down to the beach most weekends for some quiet time. I love going for long early walks on the beach with my partner and puppy, having a wine and cheese with friends and reformer Pilates.

red wine and pasta italian restaurant

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your FB profile?

I’m a bit of a tomboy and I don’t wear makeup that often. I also may or may not have played a season of 10 pin bowling as a sport as a kid!! I totally did…

If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?

My puppy, Geri x 5!

crystal kimer and her puppy Geri

What would your ultimate dream job be?

I think the dream is to be my own boss otherwise a creative director for a big fashion brand.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth? Favourite dessert?

I’ve always been a sweet tooth – I have 4 pieces of chocolate every night without fail. My favourite sweet treat would definitely be a lemon tart or a Kit Kat!