Perth turned on remarkably Melbourne-like weather for the 2013 state final of Myer Fashions on the Field at Ascot Racecourse, where the predicted forecast of showers turned into an incredibly unseasonal all-day uninterrupted downpour. Usually the warmest state final of the bunch (previous years have seen temperatures rise well above 30 degrees), at least this year’s winner would finally be able to dress “weather-appropriate” for the national Oaks Day final at Flemington.

My friend Shelley and I - before the rain - at the newly unveiled statue commemorating champion WA racehorse Northerly.

My friend Shelley and I – before the rain – at the newly unveiled statue commemorating champion WA racehorse Northerly.

Though the inclement conditions put  a dampener on entrant numbers with just 77 contestants taking to the stage, it did not dull the quality of the competitors. Judging the heats alongside me were Tynille Catanzariti from the Victoria Racing Club and Myer ambassador Laura Dundovic. I was informed by one of the organisers afterwards that they had only intended on having three preliminary finals, but as we had chosen so many entrants to progress (we couldn’t decided between entrants in one heat so they all went through!) they had to squeeze a fourth preliminary final into the tight competition schedule.

A strong line-up in one of the preliminary finals.

A strong line-up in one of the preliminary finals.

Ten lovely ladies lined up for the grand final, with a strong selection of very different looks. Thankfully, more judges were added to the finals panel to assist with making the tough decisions, including designers Aurelio Costarella and Kylie Radford from Morrison, stylist Teagan Sewell from STM, editor Amanda Keenan from the West Weekend, WA Myer General Manager Kerry Davenport, and 2012 WA state finalist Emma Reynolds.

L-R: MC Scherri-Lee Biggs with judges Aurelio Costarella, yours truly, Kylie Radford and Laura Dundovic. Photo from Myer Instagram.

L-R: MC Scherri-Lee Biggs with judges Aurelio Costarella, yours truly, Kylie Radford and Laura Dundovic. Photo from Myer Instagram.

From what I could garner, the judging was not unanimous in choosing a winner and it didn’t surprise me at all. I had whittled my favourite outfits down to five, but struggled to choose a top three from my favourites. In the end, it was Kate Watts who triumphed in an outfit that “almost ended in divorce” after asking her husband’s opinion one too many times – but I think all was forgiven when her prize was announced as a trip to the Melbourne Cup Carnival for two people.

The winners L-R: 2nd runner-up Stephanie Cutmore, winner Kate Watts and 1st runner-up Elizabeth Winlo.

The winners L-R: 2nd runner-up Stephanie Cutmore, winner Kate Watts and 1st runner-up Elizabeth Winlo.

Kate wore a digital print dress with a flared skirt and cap sleeves by & Other Stories, a bespoke pillbox hat with a handmade gold rose by Reny Kestel to complement her Kookai necklace and Peep Toe clutch, finished with custom-made blue gloves and strappy heels from ASOS.

Runner-up Elizabeth Winlo, who was Elizabeth Pollard when she won the national Myer Fashions on the Field final in 2009, almost stole the winner’s sash again, teaming a nautical-striped Kate Spade dress with yellow and white accessories by milliner Reny Kestel, Sass & Bide, Aldo and Myer.

Second runner-up Stephanie Cutmore really exuded confidence in her digital print peplum top and skirt, matching them with a Hayley Blakiston feathered headpiece, strappy sandals and a classic black clutch.

With the Myer Fashions on the Field national final picture becoming clearer week by week, there are only a handful of opportunities left to secure your place in the competition. Next week Angela and I will provide the complete guide to entering Myer Fashions on the Field at Flemington, so stay tuned for all the essential information.

Photo credit: Instagram @myer_mystore

By Lisa Tan