Mi Piaci Women: Liv and Carrie from SHOW PONY Millinery
Sisters Liv Kinley and Carrie Broomhall created SHOW PONY Millinery after a series of life-changing events brought them both to a crossroads. Deciding to follow their dreams and create bold, beautiful headpieces for likeminded women was a natural progression for the two seasoned racegoers. Since then, SHOW PONY fascinators have featured trackside both here and around the globe, as well as at weddings and red carpet events. We went behind the scenes with Liv and Carrie to ask them all about their brand, and the inspiration behind SHOW PONY.
What was your motivation to start SHOW PONY Millinery?
Created in 2016, you could say that SHOW PONY Millinery actually started decades ago when our parents first locked eyes at a local race meeting and began their journey of “happily ever after”. We spent our childhood trotting along to race meetings up and down the length of the country, and even across to the other side of the world. As our knowledge of the Sport of Kings grew, so too did our wardrobes – especially after we began to make our own headpieces for the big events. Pretty soon our female friends started asking us if we could make them headpieces too. It wasn’t long until we started getting asked why we weren’t in business.
Fast-forward to 2016, after one of us had beaten all odds and won a mighty battle against cancer and the other had found herself at a crossroads in life, we decided it was time to bring the fun and colour back into not only our lives, but of those around us. What better way to do that, we thought, than by making fun headpieces for likeminded women?
So now, to the backdrop of fantastic music and much laughter, we spend our days crafting our wares with the kind of love and positivity that we hope will rub off on our customers when they step out in them. Our designs have been worn all around the world at major racing events including the Kentucky Derby, Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but also to many red carpet events, weddings and parties as well.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We take our inspiration from so many places! It may be that we’ve found a fabric or material we love, so we work up a headpiece from that; we tend to take a lot of inspiration from major fashion weeks or events (such as the Met Gala) and put our own spin on the trends we’ve picked up; or it could be just from gleaning inspo from headwear worn internationally. We particularly love how the Australians do their headpieces, so we keep a keen eye on what they’re wearing – particularly around the spring racing season. Often though, it comes from us spending time playing with what we’ve got and working out how best to use a material and turn it into something someone would love to wear.
What is your process for creating a fascinator?
Often, we’ll sit down and sketch out some looks – particularly for our custom orders where we’ll also need to take into account our client’s head shape, skin tone, hair colour, personal ‘preference’ and what else they may have chosen to wear.
Other times, particularly when we’ve sourced some amazing new materials to work with, we will literally sit and play with different elements until we’ve perfected a style we like. It’s always challenging when you then realise you need to remember what you’ve done so you can recreate the headpiece again if it’s going to form part of a collection!
The actual crafting process can be quite intense – there’s a lot of stitching (read: needle incidents) and shaping involved, plus a lot of ‘smaller’ finishing touches that don’t appear too intensive but actually take up a lot of time.
We realise that outsourcing production would probably make a lot more sense, but SHOW PONY Millinery is super close to our hearts and we love the fact that we know each and every one of our headpieces and that, unlike a lot of the market, ours truly are designed and made with love in New Zealand.
What is your number one tip for getting ready for a big race day?
Our number one tip would be to remember that you’re attending the races - not a night club, beach party or day at work. One of the best things about going to the races is the fact you really can go all out and get dressed up (even wear a headpiece!) – it’s an opportunity to get out of the daily grind, step into some amazing shoes and take on another persona for a day that’s really all about enjoying time with friends and loved ones.
That said, we suggest people try not to forget that this is an historical sport and with it comes traditions, including what is and isn’t racewear appropriate. Leave the plunging necklines, short skirts and evening make-up for the after party and instead having fun translating your personal style into something that’s fit for the Sport of Kings.
How would you suggest wearers coordinate their SHOW PONY Millinery fascinator with their outfit and shoes?
There are definitely guides out there as to what headpiece best suits face shapes and so forth, but we would first suggest people select a style that resonates with them and, like shoes, is something they can wear for a full day out. Sure, for a truly polished look your headpiece should tie into your outfit, but you also need to select something that feels like “you”. You’re not going to have a good time if you’re wearing something that’s big, bright and bold if that’s really not your style!
There are far more outfit options out there than there are headpieces and shoes – so we tend to suggest that if you see a pair of heels or a hat you really love, buy that, then work out the rest of the puzzle from there. Shoes and headpieces may feel like the last touches to an outfit, but they really can make or break your overall look, so we suggest you take the time to really consider them. Don’t just think about whether the colour matches, ensure the styles of all your elements complement one another.
We’ve seen plenty of fashions in the field entrants wear the same dress, but the difference has been in how they have then accessorised it. Generally, it’s what’s on your head and heels that determines whether the outfit is fit for a sash or not.