Carena chats Auckland Cup Week

The Races - Caitlin O'Sullivan
18 February 2020
Photo / Dean Purcell
As one of Auckland Racing Club’s ambassadors, 2019 National MYER Fashions on the Field Winner and activewear designer, Carena West knows a thing or two about a raceday - and what to wear to such an occasion!  
We sat down with Carena to chat all things Auckland Cup Week and the fashion that goes hand-in-hand. 
What would you like New Zealanders to know about Auckland Cup Carnival? 
Auckland Cup Carnival is New Zealand's biggest cup carnival and offers a veritable feast of entertainment. From Racing, fashion and music, to children's entertainment and family areas, there is something for everyone, all hosted at one of Auckland's grandest venues. It really is an incredible week, one that I am lucky to be a part of!
For you, what is Derby Day all about?
For me, Derby Day is all about embracing tradition and is really the crème de la crème of New Zealand's racing calendar. With the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby, The Ned Prix De Fashion National Racewear final and a raft of entertainment from music to kids entertainment, it really is the perfect opportunity to pull out your number one's, dress up and have an awesome day.
... And Auckland Cup Day?
Auckland Cup Day is a celebration of colour, family and signifies the end of summer racing (sigh) and culminates with the running of the $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup. The style theme of Auckland Cup Day is ‘a touch of blue’, but of course you will see a riot of colour. It’s a true celebration of summer racing. (Also there's the annual Clydesdale race which is my absolute favourite too!)
What are you most looking forward to this Auckland Cup Carnival? 
Unfortunately, I won't be attending Auckland Cup Day this year as it coincides with my due date, but I am really looking forward to being one of a panel of judges for The Ned Prix De Fashion national final on Derby Day. It is always a highlight on my calendar.
For those heading along, what's your number one race day fashion rule to keep in mind? 
Dress for the occasion. A wardrobe malfunction can really put a dampener on the day if you are battling blisters or some ruthless sunburn!
On Fashion… 
Your three favourite trends this season?? 
I'm loving it when people take risks with their outfit - interesting headwear shapes, pattern and texture mixes and eye-catching accessories - all working together in harmony of course!
You've got a knack for putting together a race day ensemble - so much so, you were sashed the MYER Fashions in the Field winner at the Melbourne Cup last year! Where do you find inspiration for your looks? 
Thank you! My inspiration comes from all over the place. Sometimes it will be a movie or TV show I've seen, sometimes a piece of clothing or millinery will be the base for me to build my outfit on. Sometimes I'm doing something mundane and have a flash of an idea. It comes from everywhere really!
Derby Day fashion is traditionally black and white. Do you have any tips for nailing the monochrome look? 
Some people think that because your outfit is monochrome that it's more difficult to create something that stands out, but I disagree. I believe that removing the colour element of an outfit allows you to play with beautiful textures and shapes that may otherwise be 'too much’. I am a huge fan of beautiful fabric texture, so it is something that really stands out to me.
What's next? Head to for all the event details!

You might also like