The highly anticipated season finale of Fashion At The Races was revealed at yesterday's breakfast event, launching into the new season of trackside frivolity with many fabulous a face, smoothie bowl, latte and a sweet side of The Daily Edited. Leah Habel was crowned Fashion At The Races 2017-18 winner, having wowed judges at the 2018 Minijumbuk Naracoorte Cup.
The event held in February saw hundreds of Limestone Coast locals turn the state’s South East into a fashion frenzy, as both male and female competitors opted for brights, patterns and conveyed some serious country charm.
Leah travelled from Warnambool to Adelaide for today’s final, a truly passionate competitor who ran alongside Womenswear Runner Up Melissa Barnes, Brooke Walter, Mija Reynolds and Dana Abimosleh. The top three Menswear finalists were winner Robbie Lippett, Ben Seekamp and Chris O’Neill.
Showing her support for Warnambool, Leah took the title home in an ultra-femme dusty rose-hued dress from local boutique Jean Jail, accessorised with pieces by Leskes Jewellers and beauty by Chloé Ellouise. “For today, I wanted something with a bit of colour that represents Spring that was comfortable and that represented me as a person,” Leah said. “I was up very early getting hair and makeup done.”
Leah was the architect of her win, having designed the Naracoorte Cup outfit herself, which she then brought to life with the help of a dressmaker. “It was a bit of vintage outfit with a modern twist,” Leah said. “It had a low back, and a big full skirt and my mum made my hat.”
The two-piece was created by a talented seamstress from South-Eastern SA, which Leah paired with white Wittner heels sourced from Millinery & Racewear For Sale, a red Olga Berg bag and jewellery by Leskes Jewellers in Port Fairy. Prior to the Naracoorte Cup, Leah won Runner Up Lady of the Day at the Camperdown Cup in Victoria.
Leah’s commitment to racing carnivals is in her blood – her parents are racehorse owners with a strong interest in the industry and Leah has always shown horse. “It was a natural progression,” Leah said.
On the weekends, Leah frequently attends horse shows and training - riding and showing horses being her favourite way to spend her time. “I started competing when I was 19, which was 10 years ago at Warnambool May racing carnival,” she said. “I was lucky enough to win my competition that day when I entered.”
Attending race days since she was a girl, Leah credits her passion as a racegoer to her Mum. However, she acknowledges her Nana for her overflowing wardrobe, as she created the majority of her highly sentimental racing outfits.
The racetrack is indeed a place for Leah to fuse her love of racing, horses and fashion. With hopes to one day attend Royal Ascot, Leah’s ideal day out is at the races to “socialise with friends, get dressed up and have fun.” Of her racing style icons, Leah instantly names Francesca Cumani for her fashion sense and knowledge of the industry. “She is amazing,” Leah said.
According to the Millinery & Racewear for Sale founder, the biggest fashion faux pas one can commit on a race day is wearing clothing and headpieces that are uncomfortable. Leah encourages racegoers to have fun and express themselves at upcoming Spring events, but not to forget the essentials on the day. Leah never leaves home without lipstick, Panadol and money in her purse. Maintaining your morning glam session is the key to race day longevity, after all!
Describing her own style as vintage with a modern twist, Leah’s favourite racewear label is Maticevski, whose archetypal luxurious fabrics and silhouette sculpting techniques fulfil our Spring Carnival dreams.
Leah took to social media following her glorious win to thank the Fashion At The Races judges and sponsors. “I am so humbled to have been chosen as the winner in a line up of fabulous outfits and gorgeous finalists,” Leah said. “I am a regular at the Naracoorte Cup and Naracoorte epitomises all that country races is about,” she said. “It’s always a great day out!”
See the full collection of our finalists’ outfits here.