33 Retina-Assaulting Moments From The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

It’s the brightest, loudest, shiniest fashion show known to man. Make sense of it, if you can.

1. Apparently there was some sort of Americana theme.

This glittery reappropriation of the American flag was in honor of either the election, Kate Upton’s success wearing a flag bikini on GQ (she wasn’t in the show because the show’s casting director “would never” cast her), or the National Guard, who had been staying in the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City where the show tapes but were kicked out the night of the show. To the company’s credit, Victoria’s Secret previously leant the National Guard the generators they had brought in for the show before the storm hit. But the event went on as planned, even though the National Guard is still working on hurricane relief efforts and the depressed post-Sandy mood still permeates the city, where lots of red-carpet events have been canceled.

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2. This!

Model Karlie Kloss got to wear this floor-dragging feathered headdress, which somehow made it into the show even after No Doubt had to pull a video with Native American imagery — including a big fluffy headdress — that was widely deemed offensive.

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3. This is probably the wrong pose.

I assume she’s blowing a kiss — which is a signature VS runway-model move — but oh this is gaffe-y.

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4. Some looks felt awkwardly “too soon.”

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Remember that the show tapes a month in advance — it won’t air on TV until Dec. 4, at which time you might be thinking about the new year.

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5. Bedazzled candy canes made for “wings.”

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The VS Fashion Show is basically an hour-long holiday shopping commercial for the brand. Just keep that in mind.

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6. The only thing more perplexing than the front of this one…

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7. Is the back of it.

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8. The diamond bra is supposed to be the showpiece of the whole event.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Alessandra Ambrosio got to wear it this year with a waistband made of “leaves” and what is supposed to be either a pair of “wings” or a neck pillow made of mightily engorged orchids.

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9. Rihanna serenaded the allegedly underwear-themed festivities.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Her outfits were somehow perfect in the face of all of it. It’s hard to know if this show is about the underwear or all the other stuff surrounding the underwear.

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10. Of course, she did her best to play up the sexual tension any men watching the show, in their most stereotypical moments, might wish for.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

She got a little touchy at points. But we knew that was in the script when VS hired Rihanna, so, moving on.

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11. This photo just about sums up the awkwardness of all of this.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

I wonder what was in that cage before they refashioned it as a peplumed corset…

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12. Justin Bieber?

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

From what I learned in that 3-D documentary about him he does possess many of the same qualities as hyper monkeys.

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13. Looks like we’ll have to wait for the show to air on TV to see if he rode around in the “bike” basket as part of his routine.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Is he still small enough for that? HMM, QUESTIONS.

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14. If he’s almost as tall as the models when they’re wearing heels, does that mean he’s all grown up now?

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Or that he has a really good pair of man heels hidden in his sneakers?

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15. Rihanna was much more modest about the finale.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Or maybe not, given that her M.O. seems to be rubbing up on all the models.

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16. Of course the girls wore kids’ toys when Bieber performed…

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

His ability to not stop what he was singing and start building LEGO houses and things with their “skirts” is a testament to his focus as an artist.

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17. …while Bieber was dressed like Karl Lagerfeld.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The silver fingerless gloves, the futuristic textured white leather clothes…

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18. Many of the outfits on the runway were ornate in entirely new ways.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

You’ve probably never thought to wear your skirts as a sleeve, for instance.

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19. Some just looked like “Gypsy Wedding” dresses with the front removed.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
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Rihanna managed to wear the world’s most perfect outfit to the after-party.

The Associated Press / AP

This moment of sartorial perfection is just to give your eyes a break.

OK, enough of that, sunglasses back on!

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20. The show may also have been looking ahead to St. Patrick’s Day.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Unless there’s a Ferngully re-release I don’t know about.

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21. Is she wearing…a round bed?

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Because if so I want IN!

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22. Making sense is for losers.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Or, at least, ugly people.

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23. Some of the most dramatic wings were made of actual feathers.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
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Miranda Kerr has done this so many times she’s just thinking about whether or not she remembered to set her DVR to record The Voice.

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25. But many still were made of carnival detritus.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
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26. And there were glitter bras that had the truly remarkable effect of making boobs look five times their natural size.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Quite a feat of optical illusion by the design team.

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27. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is one of the best jobs a model can land these days.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Remember that as we go through these last few photos.

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28. Fascinators had a few big moments on the runway.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

As did Christmas, as we’ve seen. I do hope a velour embellished Hanukkah corset makes it into the final broadcast.

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29. Magic hovering pom-poms, anyone?

You have to wonder why cheerleaders bother doing all that work with their arms when they could just do this.

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30. Side vagina: It’s a thing!

Only Victoria’s Secret could figure out how to engineer it. I wonder if she’s saluting the National Guard on their way out?

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31. Or maybe Adriana Lima is bidding those service people adieu.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

“Good luck with Sandy relief!” *air kiss*

(The National Guard that had to vacate the space should be let back in once the show ends.)

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32. Poodle-esque weirdness aside, who else is jealous of her glitter Hula-Hoop?

Whatever Toys”R”Us they looted for this show, again: I want in.

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33. Lights, balloons, throw them some cupcakes!!!!

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Now that it’s all over, the girls can scale back their diet and exercise routines and eat a couple of cupcakes before starting up the cycle all over again for next year.

This is about the holidays, after all, and nothing says holiday time like lots and lots of sweets — and not looking anything like these women.

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