Crystal Kimber is everything that Fashion On The Field is all about, style, elegance and grace. Crystal's love affair with FOTF has taken her overseas, brought her closer to her mother and given her friends for life. Here we chat with Crystal about her experience in FOTF, her inspiration and of course her favourite milliners! 
What made you get into FOTF?
Growing up, the Melbourne Cup Carnival was the event on the social calendar. The TV coverage would be on all day and this is when I remember my first experience watching the FOTF competition. The year I remember most was when RMIT Sarah Schofield took out the National Final. She was wearing this amazing unique black and white pick up stick headpiece and looked like a picture out of Vogue. As a budding RMIT student, I wanted to be that girl, it just took me another 4 years to enter!

What as been your greatest experience so far?
I’ve been really fortunate to have experienced some pretty incredible wins and fabulous prizes in my time ranging from a trip to Hong Kong, an Alfa Romeo car and I just got back from an eight day trip to London attending Royal Ascot. For me though, the greatest experience has been the amazing relationship I have built with my mum. We design and make most of my outfits, which is a lot of fun and we’ve travelled to South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and London to attend the races. There is always a lot of laughs, changing of outfits in strange places and getting very lost in new cities. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My style is classic meets modern. I love classic trends but also like to put a modern twist to it - I’m all about making classic trends new again. So I research both new and old runways and try to find a balance between the two. I actually find more inspiration from runways 5 years ago than I do current so I will then take the colour palettes of the current season and apply them to my design. 

Who is your favourite milliner? 
My favourite milliner would have to be the great Philip Treacy. He pushes the boundaries in terms of blocking and has pioneered modern millinery. I actually purchased a second hand piece of his this year, which is truly spectacular! In terms of Australian milliners Jill and Jack Millinery are definitely my favourites as they create unusual designs that are right on trend. As my aesthetic changes for every race day, I will approach milliners who’s style best suits the outfit. 

What trends are you predicting big this year?
I expect to see lots of sea tones, nudes, graceful florals and antique white this carnival. I also see a movement from slim silhouettes to fuller shapes but definitely don’t discard the pencil skirt making an appearance on the catwalk. 

What do you like or dislike seeing on Fashions on the field?
FOTF is a fun event and I’ve met so many fantastic people. I love how friendly and supportive everyone is but what I don’t like is the stigma that it can be bitchy and almost like a beauty pageant. There’s always the chance of some bitchiness but I like to think everyone is there for the mutual love of fashion and racing and are happy to see others succeed on the day.

What is something you would like milliners to know about FOTF and the headwear to create for you?
I think the best advise is to gain an understanding of your clients individuality and design a headpiece that will not only match the outfit but their personality. A shy conservative client will struggle to wear a large out there headpiece and vise versa a bright, bubbly person will struggle to wear a conservative piece. I also suggest sending regular updates to your clients along the way, to keep their minds at ease and any concerns can be addressed before the piece is finished. 

What is your favourite outfit you have worn to FOTF?
My favourtie outfit would be my winning Caulfield Cup Carnival 2014 outfit. I had my eye on the Peter Pilotto jacket for a good 8 months and luckily enough it went on super sale in my size on Net-a-Porter during the Winter. I knew I had to buy it so I spent months trying to design the perfect skirt to go with it. Once the outfit was complete, I thought it was something pretty special and just hoped the judges did too.

Advice for budding FOTF entrants?
Be yourself! Don’t wear something because you think the judges will like it, wear it because you love it and it suits your body shape and complexion. If you don’t feel comfortable and happy in something you won’t shine on stage. I’ve worn outfits that I didn’t feel good in – my shoes were slightly too big, the skirt was too tight to walk in and I got knocked out in the first round of FOTF.

» Check out more style on her blog

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Tags: Crystal Kimber, FOTF

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