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Catwalk canned for Cup Week fashion competition

The catwalk is a casualty of Cup & Show Week’s offerings in a largely post-Covid-19 New Zealand.

Following the success of the 2021 fashion competition – held online due to Covid-19 gathering limits – organizers wanted to ensure the event retained such an option.

Fashionistas from around the country can enter up to five outfits per category in The Crossing Fashion Starts Here competition, including a mix of online entries and an in-person display.

But the catwalk has been canned because online entrants cannot participate.

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Cantabrian Janet Bramham has competed for the last five of the 30 years she’s been going to the races and said, at 62, she valued going to the fashion show in-person as a statement that “mature women” could strut a catwalk too.

“These competitions all started in Melbourne in the 1960s to get women to come along [to the races] … it’s only really Covid that changed it.

“It’s fun getting dressed up and doing the catwalk, talking to the other girls about what they’re wearing.”

She was disappointed her tangerine pleather dress and spiky hat wouldn’t be on show as it may have been in previous years, but was positive about supporting the races as a whole, saying “it’s a privilege, not a right”.

Action during the heats of the fashion competition during 2019's Trotting Cup Day.

JOSEPH JOHNSON / STUFF

Action during the heats of the fashion competition during 2019’s Trotting Cup Day.

Angela Miller, who won the race day fashion competition in 2014was traveling to the region to compete, as she has done for almost a decade.

She was concerned the online option made the competition vulnerable, suggesting entrants might submit outfits they had used in other competitions, creating an unfair advantage.

“I think to win you should be there on the day … it’s the New Zealand Cup day in Christchurch, you think you’d want someone attending and paying for the ticket to win.”

Michael Stanton, the Best Dressed Man at the Riccarton Park Racecourse in 2017is not entering this year but embraced the mixed method.

“I can understand the apprehension … but they’re [the races] trying to attract wider interest in the event. This week is a premium week in Christchurch, ”he said.

The fashionistas are out for the New Zealand Trotting Cup Day at Addington Raceway in Christchurch.  (File photo)

Joseph Johnson / Stuff

The fashionistas are out for the New Zealand Trotting Cup Day at Addington Raceway in Christchurch. (File photo)

He said it allowed locals to enjoy the event in person, while opening it up for other regions to participate – “that’s good for tourism, good for the city,” he said.

“People do it [the competition] because fashion makes them feel great. It’s not about winning a prize. “

Organizer Courtney Stone said the competition had already attracted 50 entries, and the organizing team didn’t believe the changes would make it any less enjoyable.

In 2021, they added a Contemporary category to the competition, and this year Best Dressed Couple is new. The other categories are Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man and Something Blue.

Competition entry is free, and outfits and judgments will be shared to the organisers’ Instagram page @addingtonraceway throughout the day.

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