Miss Universe

Yesterday the royal couple attended the unveiling of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by New Zealand artist Nick Cuthell. The Duchess was wearing a dress that Robyn Gallagher thought was vaguely familiar.

Oh, that’s right. It’s what almost every Miss New Zealand wore in the national costume section of Miss World and Miss Universe in the 1980s.

As I discovered recently when I trawled through two decades of Miss World and Miss Universe contests, there’s a certain awkwardness and uncertainty when it comes to New Zealand’s national costume. It seems no one’s really sure what it should be, but the one thing that keeps recurring is the black frock with a silver fern. Continue reading »