Miss Universe 1983 has handed over her crown one final time - this time to Te Papa Tongarewa.
Lorraine Downes' glittery cobalt blue gown, Miss Universe crown, sash and trophy were officially welcomed into the Te Papa Tongarewa collection in Wellington on Friday, alongside an exhibition celebrating 25 years of the World of WearableArt.
Until two years ago, Ms Downes thought she had lost her Miss Universe costume in several house moves.
''Then I discovered it had been locked up, and I was delighted and relieved.''
Her agent urged her to gift the costume, designed by Dawn McGowan at TVNZ, in time for the 30th anniversary of her win.
Ms Downes said while she felt very emotional about the exhibition, it was not the closing of a chapter for her.
''It is always going to be a part of my life, a part of my history. You can't just go, that's it... I feel very, very proud it's being exhibited this way. It's much better to be here than in a box in the garage.''
Ms Downes said the event changed her life, and she hopes the display inspires other New Zealanders.
''I hope it provides children with the courage to sign up for their dream and know that a Kiwi can win on the international stage.''
Ms Downes is not cringing about the fashion: ''For that era it was perfect, I look at it now and it's pretty outdated, but for the 80s it was perfect.''
The dress will be on display until the end of January and then stored by the museum.
Miss Downes' dress will be shown next to the exhibition The WOW Factor: 25 Years in the Making, which showcases a quarter-century of the stage show ''from ideation to creation''.
World of WearableArt wardrobe manager Jude Spencer said she has felt humbled to see it displayed at Te Papa Tongarewa.
''To see it up close the incredible skill and creativity of our designers and our team, who put on this amazing show that's different every year... it's humbling and it makes me very proud to be a part of it.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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