Friday, December 2nd, 2011
Heralding a much-needed return to sensibility and grace, Mrs Australia - Karen Miles has revealed an outback-inspired National Costume by Souraya to represent Australia at the prestigious Mrs World pageant Dec 6-15th in Florida, USA.

With nary a twig of wattle or galah in sight, this Mrs Australia gives a stylish Akubra-nod to ‘The Man from Snowy River’, inspired by Sydney’s 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony and Nicole Kidman’s outback costuming in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’.

“When I saw that single stockman ride down our Sydney 2000 Olympic stadium to crack his whip and then the theme music from ‘The Man from Snowy River’ amped up, I was overwhelmed with pride, and the authenticity and ilk of our great Australian land and people,” says Karen Miles, Mrs Australia World 2011/12.

“I grew up watching the 1982 movie and like many young girls fell in love with Tom Burlinson’s character, Jim,” says Karen. “Now as a mum, I read Banjo Paterson’s poetry to my children and feel I’m passing on an important piece of my national identity when I retell his stories.”

The Mrs World international competition is the world’s largest and most celebrated event of its kind for married women, with over 70 countries competing. Televised across the US and highly photographed across its 10-day program, the National Costume component features prominently as a cultural expression of the women chosen to attend.

As a busy mum raising a family and growing a promising media career in Sydney, Karen points to the increasing draw she feels towards her family’s country home in regional NSW’s Hunter Valley as inspiration for her National Costume.

“I had a lot of ideas for my National Costume, mostly inspired by the early stockmen and women, and the rich red of the earth and Ayers Rock, and then I partnered with haute couture designer Souraya to translate my idea into a striking stage costume.”

From Bondi Beach Lifesavers and Opera House sunsets, to native Aboriginal artwork and even sheepskin heels, Australians may never agree on what constitutes our country’s national costume.

“I think we need to move on from the ideal of agreeing on a ‘national dress’ for Australia,” says Karen Miles. “There are so many visual expressions of our national identity; you could never choose just one.”

“As long as I didn’t look like an Australiana-themed ‘fun’ park, I knew I would have Australia’s support!” says Karen.

“Working with Mrs Australia, Karen Miles, has been an exciting, creative outlet,” says Lebanese-Australian designer Souraya Chidiac of Souraya. “We both shared a vision for this important dress and I’m delighted with how we’ve captured the outback spirit of our Australian culture whilst also creating a costume that must hold its own on centre stage at an international event as impressive as Mrs World.”

Karen’s National Costume is accessorised with an authentic Akubra ‘The Boss’ Hat, and Akubra ‘Koala’ Belt, with ‘The Boss’ hatband as detail around her wrist. The gown is made from 100% raw silk dupion (skirt) and 100% silk satin organza (top).

The natural, fresh beauty of Karen’s Australian style has been captured by Irish-born celebrity makeup artist Catherine Lawler-Rohan, who will travel with Karen to the Florida event, and Dutch hairstylist Paula Burgmeijer, both from SMMH.

Karen’s Mrs World activities also include a panel interview and raising awareness for ovarian cancer and its symptoms. A vital part of Karen’s charity work includes giving a voice to new mums and the issue of post natal depression, inspired by her book ‘The Real Baby Book you need at 3am’ and Karen’s work as a down-to-earth TV and media ‘parenting expert’.

The Final Crowning Night, which incorporates swimwear and evening gown judging (Karen’s gown is sponsored by 'Can I Borrow That?' and 'Shoes of Prey'), will be held at the Orange County Convention Centre, Florida USA, on 15 December 2011.


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Mrs Australia Quest

The Mrs Australia Quest is Australia’s most prestigious event for women today and actively promotes awareness of the early signs and symptoms of Ovarian Cancer.

Currently one woman dies every 11 hours in Australia, and three are diagnosed every day. There is currently no early detection test - a pap test doesn't cover it - making awareness of the symptoms vital for every woman.

The Mrs Australia Quest provides entrants with an opportunity to promote themselves, voice their opinions, get involved, network, fulfil personal goals, and compete on an international stage representing Australia.
Karen Miles
P: 02 9451 9653
M: 0402 120 737

Sylvie Boutros

P: 0430 473 077


Karen Miles Mrs Australia Mrs World National Costume



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