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Glitzy gowns crown Miss Universe pageant

Published:Monday | December 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The stunning beauty contestants in the Miss Universe 2012 competition took to the stage at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, United States (US), on Wednesday night in gowns from the conservative to the outlandish. But they were all beautiful, many in shades of white and ivory fit for a wedding or bridal expo.

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.