THE DIARY

Miss Universe Australia, Renee Ayris,

Golden girl ... Renae Ayris in the national costume on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images

Three billion people will see this dress. Miss Universe Australia's national outfits always divide the nation, from Rachael Finch's Priscilla-inspired number in 2009, Jesinta Campbell's ugg boot catastrophe in 2010 and Nikki Silverthorne's 2011 outfit inspired (apparently) by She-Ra, Princess of Power.

So this year the winning frock was chosen from 400 options submitted to a competition run by the breakfast TV show, Sunrise. The thinking was to hand the decision over to the public and avoid the backlash, with a panel of fashion experts offering four choices and viewers voting. And this is their choice, the controversial winning design that will be worn by Australia's Miss Universe contestant, Renae Ayris, at the finals in Las Vegas next month.

''I titled the dress 'the golden country' because I wanted it to represent everything golden, prosperous and lucky about Australia,'' said the Sydney designer, Jessica Bregenhoj, who was once mentored by Alex Perry, adding she had been ''inspired by the sails of the Sydney Opera House''.

Ugg boot fail ...  Jesinta Campbell poses in her national costume in 2010.

Ugg boot fail ... Jesinta Campbell poses in her national costume in 2010. Photo: Reuters

The reaction has been fast, and mixed, with some loving the bright colours and others summed up by the fashion critic who tweeted: ''Two words. Gold. Coast.''

Ayris said she'll be proud to wear it. ''I love it and I don't think people understand you have to have a costume for national costume, and it needs to be out there to stand up to the other countries.''

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