back to top

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.

Posted on

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.

It was a serious, calm affair.

Ron Galella / Getty Images

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

(The Plaza Hotel, 1995.)

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

Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

Getty's caption of this photo describes the look as a "scuba-diving femme fatale corset."

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

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

KMazur / Getty Images

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

(The Plaza Hotel, 1997.)

In 1999, the brand had a fairy tale moment.

Jon Gordon / Getty Images

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.)

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

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

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.)

In 2001, other models got to wear "wings."

KMazur / Getty Images

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.

In 2001, the first diamond-encrusted "Fantasy Bra" appeared on the runway.

fashionologie.com

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.)

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.

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.)

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

lunadigital.tv

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

(Television screens across America, 2004.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss