Meet Cairns Cup Carnival Ambassador

Millicent van der Velde

Millicent is a lifestyle and racing fashion blogger (By Millicent Zaria), model and Business student.

A keen racegoer, Millicent’s family has been involved in the racing industry for nearly 160 years.

Millicent was a member of the Brisbane Racing Club fashion committee before relocating to Sydney. She brings an array of knowledge to the judging panel having judged and won fashions on the field at numerous Southern race meetings.

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Styling Tips Thanks to Milli

What are 3 basic fashions on the field guidelines for both women and men?
Check the Club website or social media pages for details on fashion categories and any rules or guidelines for the day.

Make sure your overall look is cohesive and appears effortless.

Most important basic guideline – you’re there to enjoy the day and have fun with fashion. Accessorise with a smile.

What trends are you loving at the moment?
For women, we are seeing trends from the 80s and 60s making a comeback. From the 60s we have influences like tuxedos for women, tweed, shift dresses, the pillbox and even hairbands with big hair. From the 80s, we’re getting looks like puffed sleeves, big shoulders, high waisted trousers and even a touch of neon.

For men, pattern-mixing is becoming very popular. For example, a checked suit and a spotted tie, or a patterned shirt and a striped tie etc.

What colours are trending this year for men?
Green is trending for men (and women) at the moment. For winter we are seeing shades like sage and olive. As we move into spring we’ll probably see more pastel shades like mint.

What are your tips for accessorising?
My rule is, keep it simple. Unless the accessory is the dominant feature of your look, then it should tie into your outfit in terms of proportion and colour. Don’t keep adding accessories if they don’t add value to your overall look.

Do you have any budget tips?
Doing your own hair and makeup can save money and it won’t disadvantage you if you do it well. A professional ‘up-do’ is not essential – choose a look which works with your age, outfit and headpiece (but keep it neat and tidy).

Another budget tip is to remember that you are judged on your overall style and presentation, not the cost of your outfit. A clever, cost effective outfit can do just as well as an expensive outfit. Stick to your budget or you won’t enjoy the experience.

What should you always keep in mind when choosing headwear for the races?
The most important fashion rule is to wear a headpiece appropriate to the season – especially if you’re entering fashions on the field. Even though it can get hot in Cairns, try to avoid summer materials for the winter carnival and instead consider ‘transeasonal’ options or winter options (this applies to the men, too).

I personally think the hat is the most important part of your outfit – a good hat can make a simple outfit look great (but not vice versa). I often buy my hat first!

What are your top 3 racing fashion don’ts?
Don’t wear something so uncomfortable you’re going to have a miserable day. If you insist on suffering for your fashion, have a back-up bag with essentials like comfortable shoes, bandaids, a light coat or anything else you might need later in the day.

Don’t dress for a nightclub or a prom. It’s a daytime event.

Don’t complain if you enter the fashions and don’t win. No-one likes sore losers.

What is your best fashion advice for the first time racegoer?
Use social media to get ideas about what to wear/what not to wear. Look at the club facebook and Instagram pages to see local standards, browse racing fashion sites such as @itsallaboutthesash for Fashions on the Field results, and read blogs like millicentzaria.com or milanoimai.com for tips about raceday dressing and current trends.

What advice would you give to an entrant who has never been on stage?
Smile and try to enjoy the experience. Everyone has to have a first time. Talk to the people either side of you, they are usually friendly and supportive.

How important is stage presence?
Stage presence is important because if you are act and move confidently, it will showcase your outfit better. Don’t overact though, and avoid gimmicks like galloping like a horse or blowing kisses to all your mates. You can do that later!

What’s the best style advice you have ever received?
Keep it simple. If you’re not sure about adding an accessory or a colour, you probably shouldn’t.

Whose race day style do you admire?
I don’t have one particular favourite. I tend to admire a lot of different looks. In general, I think Australian women and men lead the world in terms of appropriate fashion-forward race-day dressing. Although the Irish come a close second, there are some great looks coming from the Irish race days.

As a fashions on the field judge, what do you look for in the winning outfit?
The winning outfit has to be a combination of many things – fashionable, stylish, and season-appropriate. Often, someone who has taken a risk and not stuck to a ‘safe’ or ‘dependable’ look will be the one who stands out and wows the judges. There is no age or size limit – just try and be the best you can be for the style you know you can project.

Any further comments?
Judging fashions on the field is a tough job – there are often many great looks and choosing one can be very difficult. Most judges, like me, take their job very seriously and will never favour anyone based on who they know or what brand they are wearing. So, if you don’t agree with the judges’ choices, feel free to ask for constructive feedback but don’t let it ruin your day – try and have fun, make new friends and support the club!

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Meet the Nautilus Aviation Fashions on the Field Judges for the Red Beret Hotel Cairns Cup Carnival.

Elli Vukasovic

Elli Vukasovic is Nautilus Aviation’s Director of Tourism, Business Development and Brand Marketing. Since moving to Cairns in 2015, Elli has been involved in ‘Fashions on the Field’ at the Cairns Cup as a Fashion Ambassador, sponsor and judge.

Elli has been on the stage since the age of 4 and been involved in work placements with major dance companies including The Australian Ballet. Elli is a race enthusiast and very passionate about the Arts and Design.

Elli is proud to be a judge on behalf of Nautilus Aviation – a company committed to supporting events that ignite community spirit!


Renae Porta

Renae has been working in the beauty industry since 2006. Taking pride in her appearance and enjoying fashion, her love for both industries collided in 2014 when she was inspired to compete in her first FOTF competition.

Since her first competition, which Renae was sashed overall winner, she has continued to create and design stunning outfits in conjunction with local dressmaker Pauline Fenech, which have claimed her many sashes.

Renae is very honoured to be joining the judging panel and can’t wait to see what exciting new looks fashionistas will bring to the stage.


Aaron Finn

Aaron Finn may fly under the radar at fashion events but he is no stranger to achieving great heights. A professional helicopter pilot since 2007, Aaron Finn is the CEO of the privately owned and operated luxury helicopter charter company, Nautilus Aviation.

A supporter of local fashion houses such as Victor Mellick and an annual racegoer at the Red Beret Hotel Cairns Cup Carnival, Aaron is proud to judge such an important and fashion forward event for the fifth year in a row.


Jordan Beard

Jordan Beard is a 27 year old international flight attendant currently living in Melbourne but born and raised in Cairns. She is grateful to have a job that allows her to search for new fabrics, the latest accessories and experience firsthand different styles that are currently trending all over the world.

Jordan’s family is involved in racing which is where her love for racing fashion started. She always loved watching Fashions On The Field and eventually built up the courage to enter. Since competing Jordan has won on both local and national stages.


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