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Pamela Hodges modelled the Pomponne dress, carrying 100 flutes of Champagne at the exclusive invitation-only Moet Be Fabulous party.
Ms Hodges, who was chosen for the event because of her poise as a dancer, descended an 8m platform as the centrepiece of the party after an afternoon rehearsal to check her balance.
Guests, who included international delegates, leading New Zealand designers and local celebrities, plucked the glasses from her crinoline-style gown.
The dress was brought to New Zealand especially for the fashion week function and was created for the event's drink sponsor Moadiet and Chandon by Paris-based designer Saghar Rad.
It has been modelled previously in London and Hong Kong.
Earlier in the evening, Prime Minister Helen Clark officially opened fashion week, lauding its contribution to the growing profile of New Zealand fashion exports and our creative industries.
Fashion week proper begins this morning with the return of World to the runway after a four-year gap.
A week of trade shows showcasing fashions for winter 2009, mixed with ticketed public shows, is followed by fashion weekend.