NEW YORK: An integral piece of Miss Universe Australia’s kit has been given a shakedown by American Customs officers while en route to Moscow for this weekend’s contest.
Miss Australia Olivia Wells was travelling with her gown, which is inspired by the Great Barrier Reef, to the competition three weeks ago when she was made to unpack the dress because it contained organic materials.
The North Queensland based designer Jason Chetcuti says his heart stopped when he heard there was a problem. “I got a message from Olivia saying she had complications getting down through US Customs because of the organic matter which is the feathers on it,” says Mr Chetcuti.
In the end the dress was cleared by Customs and travelled on safely with Miss Wells to Russia. “They knew that it was for the Miss Universe competition and they let her through,” says Mr Chetcuti. “I thought they might be actually stalling to scout out the competition!”
The dress is made of pure silk and chiffon and incorporates feathers, shells and jewels to symbolise the colour and life found in the reef.
The bottom of the gown, which is the section that drew Customs’ attention, is designed to look like sea anemone.