How The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Went From Plain To Insane

What used to be a straightforward presentation of lingerie has become a panty- and wing-themed rock concert full of rock hard abs, bra stuffing, and enough glitter to cover a continent.

2. The first large-scale Victoria’s Secret fashion show took place at the New York City Plaza Hotel in February, 1995.

Ron Galella / Getty Images

Model Natane Adcock rocked satin shorts and a matching bra that amazingly was worn without stuffing.

3. It was a serious, calm affair.

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Veronica Webb’s nightgown was made of a whole lot more fabric than we generally see at VS shows today.

(The Plaza Hotel, 1995.)

4. The show was held at the Plaza in 1996 as well.

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Not a wing nor a speck of glitter in sight!

5. In 1997, VS supermodels began to emerge.

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This show was at the Plaza Hotel again. Check out Heidi Klum’s 90’s style!

6. Well hey there, Rebecca Romijn.

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This was back when she still had the “-Stamos” at the end of her name.

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

7. Naomi Campbell would never do her own makeup now.

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Or, probably, be in the show at all.

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

8. She’d probably never be photographed smoking backstage, either.

Ron Galella / Getty Images

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

9. When she joined the cast it was clear things were going in a more costume-y direction.

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With inventive displays of sideboob.

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

10. And they didn’t stop at sideboob — sidecrotch was also explored.

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Getty’s caption of this photo describes the look as a “scuba-diving femme fatale corset.”

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

11. Instead of the glitter and balloons we’ve come to expect for the show’s finale, the ‘97 show closed with paper confetti.

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Because the early shows took place in February, Valentine’s Day tended to be thematically significant.

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

12. In 1998, still at the Plaza, Tyra Banks strutted her smize down the runway.

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13. Naomi miraculously avoided tripping.

Ron Galella / Getty Images

(The Plaza Hotel, 1998.)

14. The iconic angel wings first made an appearance.

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Model Karen Mulder flaps for effect.

(The Plaza Hotel, 1998.)

15. In 1999, the brand had a fairy tale moment.

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The show was still held at the Plaza in early February, but starting that year, it was webcast live to over 2 million viewers. (Which seems like a pretty sophisticated use of the Internet for 1999.)

16. The show temporarily moved to the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, to raise money for Cinema Against AIDS.

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Held in May, the theme was sunny and beachy. Tanning looks to have been involved. (That’s Gisele front and center with the gold wings, btw.)

17. The wings — and sleeves — started getting quite elaborate.

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Gisele gives her wing face.

(Cannes, 2000.)

18. In 2001, other models got to wear “wings.”

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The show moved back to New York but this time took to Bryant Park. It became much more of a spectacle, now taking place in the beginning of November. Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli performed, which is kind of a strange pairing. ABC broadcast the show in early December for the first time.

KMazur / Getty Images

Bryant Park, 2001.

20. They even hired a choir.

KMazur / Getty Images

(Bryant Park, 2001.)

21. Here’s a picture of Tyra Banks making out with Rupert Everett backstage.

KMazur / Getty Images

Just because.

(Bryant Park, 2001.)

22. In 2001, the first diamond-encrusted “Fantasy Bra” appeared on the runway.

This one was called the “Heavenly Star” bra and cost over $12.5 million. Considering what the “Fantasy Bra” looks like now, it’s actually pretty subtle.

(Bryant Park, 2001.)

23. Don’t these metallic wings and this matching “dress” just scream 2002?

KMazur / Getty Images

This year, the show took place at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City. Bridget Hall got to wear all these Coke cans welded together.

24. More aerialists performed alongside the models.

KMazur / Getty Images

Heidi Klum was the star of this show.

(Armory, 2002.)

25. Adriana Lima rocked the epaulets look that is so common among everyday wearers of underpants.

KMazur / Getty Images

She’s been my favorite Angel ever since giving this GQ interview back in 2006. Sample line: “From my hair to my toes to my nails. Everything’s fake. Everything! Even my heart is fake.”

(Armory, 2002.)

26. Karolina Kurkova wore the Fantasy Bra in 2002.

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Called the “Star of Victoria,” it clocked in at $10 million.

27. In 2003, the Glitter Era began.

Ron Galella / Getty Images

Armory, 2003.

28. A tentpole of this era: wings on steroids.

Jason Nevader / Getty Images

(Armory, 2003.)

29. Superhero-inspired-looking things made their first appearance.

Jason Nevader / Getty Images

Armory, 2003.

30. Heidi put the Fantasy Bra back on.

It was called the “Very Sexy Fantasy Bra.”

(Armory, 2003.)

31. In 2004, because of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was cancelled.

The scrutiny of indecency in TV programming got intense enough to thwart the VS broadcast.

(Television screens across America, 2004.)

32. So instead, five of the models embarked on an “Angels Across America” tour.

J. Countess / Getty Images

According to the press release, the plan was for the Angels to “deliver holiday spirit to cities across the country.”

(Los Angeles, 2004.)

33. This involved making handprints in the cement outside the VS store at the Grove in LA.

SGranitz / Getty Images

Gisele that is not even your own name. Los Angeles, 2004.

34. The show resumed in 2005, back at the Armory.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

The theme of this portion was “Santa’s Sexy Helper.”

(Armory, 2005.)

35. Alessandra Ambrosio kept warm.

KMazur / Getty Images

Note the evolving nature of the cleavage. These bras definitely have “chicken cutlets” inside.

(Armory, 2005.)

36. Gisele wore the “Sexy Splendor” Fantasy Bra.

KMazur / Getty Images

Which once again had a price tag of $12.5 million.

(Armory, 2005.)

37. Also that year, after a decade with VS, Tyra announced that she was done with modeling.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

She started The Tyra Banks Show, which is no longer on the air.

(Armory, 2005.)

38. In 2006, the show moved to the Kodak Theatre in LA.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

The girls were not deprived tacky matching outfits.

(Los Angeles, 2006.)

39. The wings could practically be seen from space by this point.

KMazur / Getty Images

(Kodak Theatre, 2006.)

40. Karolina Kurkova again modeled the Fantasy Bra.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

Called “Hearts on Fire,” it was a relative bargain at $6.5 million.

(Kodak Theatre, 2006.)

41. Model Izabel Goulart demonstrated proper seafaring safety techniques.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

(Kodak Theatre, 2006.)

42. Jessica Stam adorned her bra with tartan rosettes.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

(Kodak Theatre, 2006.)

43. Doutzen Kroes… graduated.

Gabriel Bouys / Getty Images

(Kodak Theatre, 2006.)

44. The 2007 show was also held at L.A.’s Kodak Theatre.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

With all the glittery snow and excessive embellishments, you might mistake it for a Katy Perry concert.

(Kodak Theatre, 2007.)

45. Angela Lindvall’s wings looked relatively light.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

HER HAT IS MADE OF NEGATIVE SPACE. WHY IS THIS NOT A THING?

(Kodak Theatre, 2007.)

46. The Spice Girls reunited for the first time in order to perform at the show.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

(Kodak Theatre, 2007.)

47. Selita Ebanks wore the $4.5 million Holiday Fantasy Bra.

Arun Nevader / Getty Images

And the lesser-known but just as important Fantasy Garter.

(Kodak Theatre, 2007.)

48. In 2008 the show moved to Miami Beach’s Fontainebleu Hotel.

Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

The brand demonstrated a deft hand at seasonally appropriate dressing.

(The Fontainebleu Hotel, 2008.)

50. Adriana Lima wore the Black Diamond Fantasy Bra.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

This one was $8 million.

(The Fontainebleu Hotel, 2008.)

51. The show was so spectacular it moved Seal and Lenny Kravitz to tenderly embrace.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

R.I.P. Heidi and Seal’s love :(

(The Fontainebleu Hotel, 2008.)

52. In 2009 the show headed back to its home in New York, again at the Armory.

Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

By this point the model’s diet and workout routines were big focal points of the whole spectacle.

(Armory, 2009.)

53. Marisa Miller wore the $2.5 million “Harlequin” Fantasy Bra that year.

George Napolitano / Getty Images

(Armory, 2009.)

54. Pinata-inspired fashions were explored.

Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

Carly Rae Jepsen, they did it first.

(Armory, 2009.)

55. Heidi Klum walked the runway six months after giving birth.

CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

Thereby jump-starting an unsettling trend where Angels are pregnant seemingly moments before the show and then magically shed all of the baby weight in the time it takes a normal person to eat a steak dinner.

(Armory, 2009.)

56. Adriana Lima shed her baby weight in time to wear the “Bombshell” Fantasy Bra in 2010.

Theo Wargo / Getty Images

She had the baby a year before the show.

(Armory, 2010.)

57. Model Magdalena Frackowiak dressed as a tattoo come to life.

Randy Brooke / Getty Images

(Armory, 2010.)

58. Not to be outdone, Liu Wen wore an entire NASCAR race.

Randy Brooke / Getty Images

(Armory, 2010.)

59. And Selita Ebanks wore all of “nature.”

Mike Coppola / Getty Images

(Armory, 2010.)

60. But the wings, of course, stole the show.

Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

If modeling doesn’t work out Karolina Kurkova could always live in those.

(Armory, 2010.)

61. The 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was the biggest yet, broadcast to more than 180 countries with a production cost of $12 million. (Or: one Fantasy Bra.)

Kevin Kane / Getty Images

(Armory, 2011.)

62. Alessandra Ambrosio walked the show WHILE TWO MONTHS PREGNANT.

Randy Brooke / Getty Images

She did not tell anyone she was with child until after the show.

(Armory, 2011.)

63. The wings lit up on their own.

Michael Stewart / Getty Images

(Armory, 2011.)

64. Some were made of solid gold.

Michael Stewart / Getty Images

The perfect thing to offset a lace turtleneck.

(Armory, 2011.)

65. Others were embroidered.

Michael Stewart / Getty Images

Now, who can DIY this?

(Armory, 2011.)

66. This get-up didn’t quite consist of wings as much as a shell a mermaid would live in.

Randy Brooke / Getty Images

Which Miranda Kerr wore proudly along with the $2.5 million “Fantasy Treasure Bra.”

(Armory, 2011.)

67. So, to review:

Kevin Kane/ Ron Galella / Getty Images

68. FIN.

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