This week we’re interviewing our 2015 national winner, Emily Hunter, and hearing about her life both on and off the track!
This is the second interview in a three part series profiling our past three national winners. If you missed the first interview with our 2016 national winner Courtney Moore, I recommend going back and reading that post first to really appreciate the significance of being crowned the national winner.
Emily Hunter | National Winner 2015
Fashion Related Questions
How long have you been entering FOTF? Number of events per year?
Just the one, Melbourne Cup day 2015.
Describe your winning outfit and where you got the idea/inspiration?
The outfit I wore started with the headpiece – an absolutely stunning handmade leather and lace creation in pinks, yellow and navy, from Lisa Schaefer Millinery in Grenfell, NSW (my home town).
As the headpiece was clearly the statement, I decided to keep the rest of the outfit simple. My mother Angela made my dress out of the most beautiful navy Italian jacquard, using a modified Vintage Vogue and some kitchen paper as her pattern.
Lisa has since told me the headpiece was inspired by “Spring flowers” – how perfect for the Melbourne Cup at Flemington. The dress itself was inspired by an image of Zina Charkoplia at Paris Fashion Week.
I loved the full skirt and the textured fabric of Zina’s dress. Mum incorporated the high-low hemline (which happened to be a huge “trend” in racing fashion that year, who knew!) as it showed a peek of the pink lining, and created fullness in the skirt with large box pleats, an extra layer of material hidden between the jacquard and the lining, and two petticoats (one borrowed from my sister’s “dress ups”).
What was it like winning the national final? Recreate the moment for us.
Honestly, I was in a state of shock. I felt like everything was going crazy around me and I was just in this little bubble of disbelief.
The whole day was highly emotional for me- my parents had never been to Flemington before, they made the trip specially to see me compete in the dress mum made and the headpiece from little Grenfell.
They were so proud and passed on so many well-wishes from everyone in town – needless to say I was feeling the pressure! By the time the national final approached, I was numb – it was the strangest state I’ve been in!
Looking back, it was the best day of my life and I will treasure the memories forever.
Has your life changed in any way since taking out the winning sash?
My life has definitely changed since winning the National competition. Being a FOTF novice, I had no idea there was such a big community of FOTF enthusiasts out there and I didn’t fully appreciate the significance of racing fashion in Australia.
I love that racing fashion has become one of my main interests now. I had an amazing year last year judging the State Finals and attending glamorous events, and since then have been asked to be a regular contributor on ABC local radio “talking fashion” once a month.
It has also changed the lives of both Lisa and my Mum, boosting their business profiles and enabling them to focus on creating beautiful things that make people happy, which is what they both love to do.
What do you like most about FOTF? Will you continue to enter FOTF competitions?
I love seeing the beautiful outfits and meeting like-minded women who are only too happy to talk about fashion for hours and have a few champagnes! One of the best things about FOTF is the friendships that come out of it.
I will always make a point of going to the FOTF competitions any time I go to the races, but will probably just be a spectator rather than an entrant.
Who are your favourite milliners and racewear brands/stores?
Obviously my favourite Milliner is Lisa Schaefer. Not only is Lisa incredibly talented, she is a generous, kind and beautiful person, and I feel so fortunate to have a friend like her – especially grateful for all the last-minute millinery she whipped up for me!!
There are so many other talented milliners, I love seeing everyone’s creative unique pieces at the races. Philip Treacy’s designs are truly spectacular and he has been a trailblazer in the millinery scene for decades, it is hard not to list him as a favourite.
The scope of Louise McDonald’s creativity means she has something to suit a myriad of tastes/styles, and I really like how Allport Millinery’s signature perchers are instantly recognisable as one