Normally Miss Universe is a welcome break during the madness of New York Fashion Week. But for some inexplicable reason, pageant organizers decided to hold it right before the holidays. Sadly, any hope for an over-the-top Christmas spectacle featuring dancing elves and a rousing rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” were dashed the moment the opening sequence began. In an array of pastel-hued Sherri Hill bandage dresses and glittery Chinese Laundry platform sandals, the contestants paraded across the stage as the introduction voice-overs failed: Apologies to any contestants who had the unfortunate luck of being at the beginning of the alphabet, no one knew your name!
If that wasn’t a cue that the producers were phoning it in before heading out on vacation, the subsequent slow interpretative dance to Avicii’s “Levels” while the girls wore bikinis cemented the fact. Thankfully, the evening-gown competition did not disappoint, with festive dresses that featured everything from green tinsel to sparkly bodysuits. In the end, Miss USA’s Olivia Culpo, wearing a plunging red-velvet creation by Georges Hobeika Couture, claimed the crown over Miss Phillipines, Janine Tugonon. Congrats to the new Miss Universe, may you wear more spectacular themed gowns. For the rest of us, click ahead to see the gowns of the top ten contestants, plus a bonus photo of quite possibly the best-dressed attendee in the entire universe.