As band Train and Australian singer Timomatic performed, the women strutted in gorgeous evening gowns. Miss Venezuela's straight-cut, emerald-coloured gown was perhaps the most distinct, its long sleeves virtually invisible but for the navy blue, garland-like trim encircling them.
Miss USA's red velvet number was full-skirted and wintery, except for the deep, plunging neckline. Miss Australia's gown evoked a wedding dress - pure white with sparkles at the waist and a corset-style bodice.
Olivia Culpo took the crown from Leila Lopes of Angola after strutting in a purple and blue bikini and a red velvet gown.
Culpo, from Rhode Island, was trying to end a long losing spell for the US in the competition. An American had not won the right to be called Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997.