All That Glitters Is Victoria’s Secret
The gates of Heaven, as it were, are guarded by three PR checkpoints and one drug-sniffing dog. Those are the hoops you’ve got to leap through to get to the Angels—the Victoria’s Secret Angels, at least—who I met yesterday as they sat in their 30 makeup chairs, preparing for the HD-filmed, soon-to-be-televised Victoria’s Secret runway spectacular. (Street style photog Tommy Ton was backstage, too; click to see his exclusive pictures.)
The show, says stylist Charlotte Stockdale, is huge. “For a normal fashion show you turn up ten days before,” she says. “In this one, I do about 30 days. Then you get here and you think, ‘It’s under control.’ And then two days before the show, wings are added, dancers are added, fliers are added, and suddenly you’re, like, ‘Oh my God, it’s not under control at all.’ ” But as it turned out, it was. More than one performer took flight during the 45-minute extravaganza, which was run twice last night for the benefit of the cameras. An enormous inflatable pink puppy sprang to life and was deflated just as quickly. There was the acrobatic troupe, the show choir, and, oh yes, the Black Eyed Peas. All in all, there were more pyrotechnics than a night at the opera. No wonder Jay-Z, sitting front-row, opted for a tux.
And the clothes (or lack thereof)? You won’t find the showpieces stocked at your mall in the coming months, but that’s never been the point, anyway. The trains, shoulder straps, wings, and appendages ran the gamut from a geometric metal polygon sported by Liu Wen, VS’s first Asian model since 2003, to a lavishly feathered pair of swallow’s wings worn by Abbey Lee (Stockdale called them couture). Where these girls go—and shimmy, strut, and booty-shake—balloons, billows, and cloaks trail behind. Almost every trend of the past few years was paid its tribute. There were bits that felt like Sprouse, like Vuitton, like Balmain. There was neon, disco, psychedelia, Americana, comic-strip fantasy, and storybook fantasy. Unreality was the rule. Heidi Klum hit the spangled runway five weeks after giving birth. Even with her stomach covered, that seemed unreal, too.
It was a little hard to focus your eyes on normal people and normal clothing when the lights finally went up. The evening’s theme, I learned afterward, was Magical Journeys. Sounds about right. It was a trip.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airs December 1 on CBS.