Victoria’s Secret fashion show 2013: six talking points

From a $10m bra to 3D-printed corsets, the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show is all about extravagance

Though it is referred to as the world’s most-watched fashion show, the annual Victoria’s Secret event owes more to Cirque du Soleil than the average models-walking-up-and-down runway presentation. The convergence of star models, musical firepower, outlandish costumes, extravagant sets and eye-watering quantities of fake tan makes it 15 minutes that bombard the senses.

Here are the top talking points from the 2013 show.

VS goes British

The VS show comes in six acts – all the better to repackage between ad breaks during its 10 December US telecast, of course. As with any entertainment extravaganza, the opening number sets the tone, and for 2013 it was all about Swinging London. The “British Invasion” section rolled together Carnaby Street, mods, bobbies, union jacks, footballers (in the shape of Cara Delevingne), psychedelia, pearly queens, Victoria’s Secret’s take on the crown jewels (see below), and plenty of nods to classic Brit rockers – only with much cleaner, shinier, bouncier hair. And less anarchy. And whiter teeth. And less clothing. And zero sarcasm. In other words, not much that was very British after all.

The crown jewels

It might not look great under a T-shirt, but as it is covered in diamonds, rubies and yellow sapphires worth $10m, the Royal Fantasy Bra probably can claim the distinction of being the world’s most valuable brassiere. Designed by Swiss jewellers Mouawad and modelled by show opener Candice Swanepoel, the bra is the latest in a long line of semi-precious lingerie to grace the VS runway. In case you’re interested, the boob jewellery will be available to buy for a year after the show. After that, it is dismantled, enabling the gems to be returned to other, less VPL purposes.

The beauty

When I was planning my 2009 wedding, my hair stylist said the look requested most often by her bridal clients was “Victoria’s Secret Angel”. That is probably still the case (at least in North Carolina), because the show and its Angels have come to stand for a certain sort of tawny, glowing, kittenish, voluminous glamour. Fittingly, the backstage beauty reference this year was … wait for it … Angels! It’s almost as if makeup artist Tom Pecheux and hair stylist Orlando Pita got together and said: “Why bother coming up with another Brigitte Bardot equivalent? The next time someone asks us for our inspiration, let’s reference LAST YEAR.” Or as the tip sheet put it: “This year, it’s all about looking like an Angel … Confidence and irresistible sexiness shines from within.” Though hair extensions can’t hurt.

The costumes

3D printing: it’s not just for handguns. Working with architect Bradley Rothenberg, 3D-printing company Shapeways created a delicately filigreed, snowflake-patterned corset, designed to fit model Lindsay Ellingson’s torso in that custom-printed way. A centrepiece of the Snow Angels section of the show, the corset was only mildly overshadowed by an aviary’s worth of feathered wings; Taylor Swift telling everyone that they were trouble; and a nude-looking Karlie Kloss. (Relax – she wore a crystal-spangled, skin-toned bodysuit, a la Britney in the Toxic video.)

The shoes

Between the bustles, the corsets, the capes, the crystals and especially the wings, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the only garments from the show that ever filter down to Victoria’s Secret stores are the bras and knickers. While those wings certainly are a sight to behold, this year’s winner for The Thing We Wish We Could Steal Off The Runway would have to be the shoes. British footwear stars Nicholas Kirkwood and Sophia Webster created Swarovski crystal-covered cage booties, black patent-leather lace-up pumps, and the brightest designs of the bunch, platform stilettos that were almost Lego-like in their primary-hued intensity. Maybe it’s because shoes tend to flatter even the least Angel-like among us; maybe it’s because these were great. Either way: want.

And one more thing …

A VS executive told Women’s Wear Daily that budgets were higher for the 2013 show than the 2012 edition, estimated to have cost more than $12m to produce. Given that this year’s performers (Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, a fluoro-garbed girl group called Neon Jungle and a winsome singer-pianist by the name of A Great Big World) didn’t exactly match up to Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber and Rihanna, the 2012 names, that money probably didn’t go towards the musical budget. Unless Taylor Swift’s rider called for her to keep those shoes. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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