Victoria’s Secret is not just any old lingerie label, with sales topping the $6 billion mark in 2013, it commands the kind of retail power that is not to be scoffed at.
Tonight it held its annual catwalk show, now in its 19 year, the brand chose to stage the show in London, rather than its regular New York haunt.
Catwalk show is perhaps a slightly misleading description for the event; what started out as a marketing tool has become a yearly televised spectacular starring the world’s most famous models and global superstar performers.
The relocation to Blighty did not disappoint with the brand putting on its biggest ever show. It began on Monday with the 47 models touching down on UK soil having arrived courtesy of a private Boeing 767, VS branded, of course, as were the models.
Whilst the Earl's Court venue played host to 3,000 attendees, this number is rather paltry compared to the audience of the televised show; Ed Racek, the brand’s senior creative officer, reminded guests as they took their seats for the show that 500 million people will tune into the event; “more people will see it than any other fashion show combined.”
The show itself was split into six sections: Gilded Angels, Exotic Traveler, Dream Girl, University of Pink, Fairy Tale and the finale Angel Ball. Opened by Behati Prinsloo in head to toe gold who was swiftly followed by Karlie Kloss wearing a pair of 18karat gold wings, the most expensive piece ever made by haute couture designer Serkan for the brand.
In pictures: Victoria’s Secret 2014 show
The second section introduced Ed Sheeran to the arena who seemed to be doing his best to ignore the girls whilst belting out ‘Thinking Out Loud.’ Sheeran was joined on stage by the lingerie highlight of the show; the legendary fantasy bras.
The fantasy bra is a lingerie set so luxurious it needs its own bodyguard. In true Victoria’s Secret fashion one set just wasn’t good enough, tonight’s show saw two fantasy bras showcased, each valued at a around $2 million; worn by the brand’s longest serving Angels Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio.
And if you thought that was over-the-top it pales in comparison to the set worn by Gisele in 2000 which came in at a cool $15 million.
Taylor Swift was the next of the brand’s superstar performers to take to the stage, getting in the spirit of things dressed herself in a pink embroidered dressing gown. She later changed into a black lace sheer dress which was suitably gothic for the finale section of the show.
Pink – the brand’s secondary label aimed at a slightly younger demographic was the next showcase which saw the models joined by Ariana Grande performing a medley of hits, before Irish musician Hozier slowed things down for the Fairytale section of the show which saw models sporting wings so large they were forced to edge somewhat awkwardly around the stage props.
For the grand finale all 47 models and four performers took to the stage for the final showeditorisalcase where giant black and white balloons descended on the audience and down to the catwalk.
No detail was too small; the holding area which was fashioned in the style of a slightly dated nightclub and the runway itself came scented by VS fragrance ‘Heavenly’ – the bottle of which has its very own bling wings made of 126 Swarovski crystals.
Nothing is left to chance; even the filming itself, as the show actually takes place twice, ensuring the cameras catch every single strut, hair flick and kiss blown.
The 47 models taking part were attended to by no fewer than 25 makeup artists, 25 hair stylists and nine manicurists. The transformation to VS Angel is not as straight forward as it would seem; call time for the show’s participants was 8am, so with the first show taking place at 4pm that’s a staggering 8 hours of hair and makeup prep.
Even the audience couldn’t escape the VS effect with the Black Tie ‘black and white’ dress code making for somewhat over-dressed but incredibly coordinated fashion show attendees.