With a number of national and regional competition wins between them – including last year’s national title and three regional triumphs this season alone – Anna Campbell and her daughters Claudia and Eleanor have nailed the art of racewear.
The secret of the Cambridge trio’s success? Not breaking the bank. Handmade, chain store and sale items are elements of their winning looks that have fooled judges up and down the country in the past five years.
Last year, 21-year-old artist Claudia took top honours at the national Prix de Fashion competition at New Zealand Derby Day, winning more than $30,000 in prizes and a trip to compete at Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington.
This racing season, Eleanor, 18, has won the Hawkes Bay regional final and will compete alongside her mother – who has recently won at both Te Rapa and Ruakaka – at tomorrow’s Prix de Fashion event.
Mrs Campbell said although they splash out on headwear from Monika Neuhauser Millinery, last year the trio were able to put together outfits for Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington for less than $200 each.
“We’ve had success, all three of us have done well all over the country and usually in chain store outfits with a touch of handmade as well. We like to add some handmade articles … my mother and the girls’ grandmother Val Harman is a sewer so if we see a really nice top we like to find some material to go with it.
“We alter things, we try not to wear something straight off the rack … If we find a skirt or a dress, well, we cut dresses into tops and we make tops into skirts.”
Mrs Campbell, who runs Petite Paws dog kennel in Waikato, was drawn to the fashion events at race meetings after watching a friend’s son compete five years ago.
Her girls followed suit and outfits were prepared weeks, sometimes months, in advance and often found on sale racks in chain stores before they were transformed.
“We think it’s quite good that we can still win on outfits that haven’t cost the world – but we always have a nice hat. I’d rather spend money on a nice hat and then you can put the outfit together.”
This season’s wins came in hats bought last season, and other accessories were picked up cheaply at shops such as Diva and Equip. Their favourite clutch was purchased on Trade Me.
Go to nzherald.co.nz/racing for all the Auckland Cup coverage
– NZ Herald