Milano Imai's racing fashion career started from humble beginnings. Styling her own looks for race days, bringing together different headwear, accessories and adding a touch of embellishment to her look, giving it her own style and satisfying her creative passion. Many race days, updo's and all-nighters beading embellishments later, Milano now offers fabulous styling and DIY advice to fashionistas all over the world through her blog and racing fashion community. Changing each race day outfit, one sequin at a time.
What made you get into Fasions On The Field?
I discovered fashions on the field in 2011 when I went along to a race day to do promotion work as the boutique I worked for was sponsoring prizes. I’d never seen a FOTF competition before and was blown away by the immaculately dressed women and their millinery! I found out when the next event was, put together an outfit, purchased a hat, embellished it and managed to win first place! Looking back, my style has definitely changed as I became more educated in racing fashion.
What has been your greatest experience so far?
Definitely discovering my passion for racing fashion which lead me to start my blog and all the amazing women I’ve met and made friends with along the way. It’s something I devote a lot of my time to and I love it when I hear that I’ve helped someone else on their racing fashion journey through my blog.
Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
I use social media a lot, I’m always scrolling through Instagram, looking through runway shows online and getting lost in Pinterest. I also am drawn to embellishment and find when I create an outfit ideas start to flow and build as I go along.
Who is your favourite milliner?
I wouldn’t say I have one favourite milliner. Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been amazing; Peacock Millinery, Meredith McMaster Millinery, Christie Millinery, Marilyn Vandenberg Millinery (top photo). I’m always looking through different milliner’s work. I love how different each milliners personal style is and what new ideas and techniques they come up with, so my goal is to work with a few new milliners every year.
What trends are you predicting big this year?
I’m predicting outfits that pay close attention to a structured silhouette. Not just a plain pencil cut skirt or full skirt but outfits that have layers, unique edges and volume in their construction.
What do you like seeing on Fashions on the field?
I like seeing new friendships form, how encouraging and supportive all the women are of each other and how willing they are to lend a helping hand or style advice. I also love watching the spectacular outfits these clever women come up with with styling perfection head to toe. It’s the ultimate day for people watching!
What is something you would like milliners to know about FOTF and the headwear they create for you?
Something I’ve found since working with milliners to create a bespoke piece is that when the hat arrives and is tried on with your outfit, it can need some additional changes. One thing I’ve been lucky with is milliners who embrace the changes you would like made and continue to work with you through the process until you are 100% happy with your hat - that to me is such an important part where some ladies will feel bad in asking for changes to be made, but those small changes can make all the difference to having a very happy client.
What is your favourite outfit you have worn to FOTF?
My favourite outfits are always ones I’ve helped to design and create, spent hours beading and embellishing or sewing, I feel like they are my babies. My favourite is my white leather and mesh dress I made together with Andrew Semple, it took us over 100 hours. I wore it to Tattersall’s club race day and won flights to China!
What is the best thing about competing in FOTF?
I love the lead up to a FOTF event. The planning, DIY, finding the perfect shoes and bag to match your outfit, tweaking so everything is just right and then having a stage to show case your work and the chance to walk away with a sash. I also love the excuse to get all dolled up and have my hair done and feel super fancy for the day.
Advice for budding FOTF entrants / stylist / bloggers?
Don’t be afraid to try new things, until last year barely anyone was wearing statement earrings and now they are everywhere, stick to your personal style and wear what you love, don’t be afraid to be yourself and start a new fashion trend!
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