It's all about flair, finesse and fascinators as fashionistas saddle up for a chance to be crowned the country's most glamorous racegoer.

Auckland Cup Week was set to kick off in style with the creme de la creme of racing fashion descending on Ellerslie Racecourse today for Vodafone Derby Day's Viva Prix de Fashion - the national fashions in the field final.

Featuring winners from racing fashion competitions around the country, the runway event would see one lucky lady take home a $20,000 prize package including entry into the fashions in the field event at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November.

Viva Prix de Fashion 2017 winner Hannah Carson advised this year's competitors to think outside the box.


"[Don't] be predictable. The judges always love that," she said. "I think taking risks does pay off."

"And [wear] something that you are confident in because when you are confident, it makes the whole outfit look better."

The 30-year-old from Auckland expected to see lots of big hats, prints and colour in this year's competition.

And for those opting to stick to traditional Derby Day black and white, Carson said it would be all about silhouettes, big sleeves and lots of frills.

Carson said key points to keep in mind included coordinating your outfit, wearing a headpiece, dressing in day wear - not evening wear, and making sure dresses or skirts finished below the knee.

Hannah Carson in her winning outfit for last year's Viva Prix de Fashion. Photo/Norrie Montgomery
Hannah Carson in her winning outfit for last year's Viva Prix de Fashion. Photo/Norrie Montgomery

Carson stood out last year in a floral dress bought from H&M, which she restyled by adding a ruffled trim and collar in striped fabric.

She said winning the competition was "a lovely surprise".

"I still can't believe I won because everyone puts so much effort into their outfits and they are all so beautiful."


The seven finalists who qualified for today's event included Miss New Zealand 2015 Deborah Lambie and former model and brain injury advocate Elizabeth Charleston.

They would be joined by four women selected from today's runway heats.

The judging panel included Australian racing fashion blogger Milano Imai and winner of last year's Melbourne Cup Carnival fashions in the field event, Crystal Kimber.

And for the first time ever there was set to be a menswear competition.

Auckland Racing Club CEO Paul Wilcox said he was very excited about the menswear event.

"I think it's cool gives guys a chance to show that they can dress up as well and look good."

The event was one of many happening around the city this weekend including the Lantern Festival, Auckland City Limits music festival and Bruno Mars' final New Zealand concert.

But, don't forget to take a raincoat as a few showers were expected in the city throughout the day.

To enter today's Viva Prix de Fashion qualifier or the menswear competition head to the fashion registration marquee at the event before 1pm. All entrants must be over 18.

Auckland events this weekend:

Auckland City Limits:

Western Springs Stadium, Saturday 11am-11pm.

Lantern Festival: Auckland Domain, Saturday and Sunday 4pm-10.30pm.

Bruno Mars concert: Spark Arena, Saturday 8pm.

Volvo Ocean Race village: Auckland Viaduct, until March 18.

Vodafone Derby Day: Ellerslie Racecourse, Saturday 10.30am-8.30pm.