At the World of Wearable Arts show last night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern surprised the audience by walking out on stage wearing a specially commissioned piece created by New Zealand designer Dylan Mulder.
"It was quite an honour to design this for her, and we got to catch up a few weeks ago and do some secret fittings and no one really knew about it, so it was pretty special,” Mulder said.
Mulder, who first entered the show in 2012, has been a finalist five times and is a winner of numerous awards.
“For me, this garment represents New Zealand in that it’s a symbol of us getting back out there into the world and back into that international platform.”
Originally, the Prime Minister was meant to wear heels with the garment, but a last-minute decision was made to have her wear no shoes instead.
“We realised, let’s earth her and connect her with the ground, and it was really organic,” Mulder said.
Ardern isn’t the first PM to grace the catwalk, in 2002 Helen Clark modelled at the World of Wearable Arts show in Nelson.
And in 2011, John Key sashayed to promote the Rugby World Cup uniform.
It was a big night for New Zealand artists, with Hawke’s Bay designer Kate Mackenzie taking home the supreme award for a second time.
"I didn't expect to win this year, but I'm feeling really humble because the competition was amazing,” Mackenzie said.
Mackenzie won for her piece, the Wanton Widow, which she said tells the story of a 19th-century woman on a journey through grief.
The World of Wearable Arts show is on in Wellington until October 16.