Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ll know that last week Earls Court played host to one of the biggest fashion extravaganzas in the calendar: the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I was invited along to the press recording of the show and to meet the super famous Victoria’s Secret Angels and models.
The Angels began their long journey to the UK by boarding Angel Airways and once they’d touched down in Blighty, we got the call to make our way to the Bond Street store for a press photocall. The Angels posed up a storm outside the store before making their way inside and up to the VIP shopping suite.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is performed and recorded in full twice. The best angles and performances are edited into one final cut and this then makes up the VS Fashion Show that you see on TV. I’m invited to the first show of the day, which is for press, the evening is for celebrities, personalities and people who’ve paid tens of thousands of pounds for tickets just to get a glimpse of those perfect bodies.
As I arrive at Earls Court I’m ushered though the showspace to the backstage area where myself and a million other journalists have access to the Angels whilst they’re in hair and make up for the pre-show. I spot American beauty Karlie Kloss in a VS Directors chair and make my way over; she tells me that she’s “Instagramming everything”. She’s every bit as gorgeous as you might expect, lithe and tall, I mean really tall! I thought I was pretty tall at a little over 5’10” but she’s definitely taller than me and she isn’t wearing any shoes. She’s having a weave fitted for the show and is happy to chat and get this, she even tells me she likes my hair! Let me tell you something about Miss Kloss: the gal got serious brow game, talk about on fleek!
Further down the room Candice Swanepoel has hopped up onto a table and is blowing kisses to the paparazzi who are lapping it up, I head over to snap a few pictures. I’m surprised at how small she is in comparison to some of the other Angels, and her famous waist? It’s completely and utterly teeny tiny! I’d go so far as to say it’s probably smaller than my eight year old gymnast sister’s and that’s no joke!
There’s so much to take in here and so many models, it’s the biggest show that Victoria’s Secret have ever produced and for the first time ever there’ll be two, two million dollar Fantasy Bras worn by Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. I make my way around the huge room snapping away at the various models having their hair and make up done, some of them are posing in small groups for pictures and they’re happy to take direction for the perfect shot. There’s a graffiti wall and the Angels are taking turns to spray buzzwords they associate with London, it’s all for the press of course but it genuinely looks like they’re enjoying themselves here in our Capital.
We’re called in teams through to the VS Anti Gravity Room for another photo op and we get to see the Angels having more fun larking around in a glass box with an upside down room set up.
As we’re told to make our way though to the runway for the show to begin, I spot Olivier Rousteing interviewing the angels as they pass, pausing only to take selfies.
The make up area that was buzzing with life just moments ago is now empty and the lights have dimmed, we’re ushered through a door into the darkened showspace and told to take our seats as there’s just twenty minutes until go time.
The atmosphere here is electric and everyone is chatting, about the fantasy bras mostly; we’ve already been allowed to see them up close and personal on mannequins and they’re out of this world. I can’t wait to see them literally on the flesh.
The show has been divided up into distinct themes, each theme has a name and its own section of the show:
The show opens with Exotic Traveller and Behati Prinsloo takes to the runway in a pair of huge arched golden wings and a massive smile to boot and with that we’re off. The looks just keep coming with only a short break between theme changes to set the scene and the big screens show us candid backstage shots of the models queued up to soak up there two minutes of runway glory.
As Ed Sheeran takes to the stage to perform, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio appear together in matching Fantasy Bra’s worth a cool $2 million each. As the show progresses, it’s clear that this is a really big deal, each show takes over a year to put together and the costumes, all painstakingly handmade, can take up to two years from conception to completion. The team behind the VS Fashion Show are constantly two steps ahead, working to make each show bigger, better, longer and more extravagant than the last. If you think back to the nineties when Victoria’s Secret was little more than a US lingerie brand, the shows were small and underwhelming whereas today it’s a full-blown production with Ed Razek sourcing only the best performers for the live show and the best models for the runway.
As far as the modelling gig goes, only the very best are chosen to represent the brand, and of those few, the elite are promoted to the highly coveted Angel status. Miranda Kerr once said “When you’re a Victoria’s Secret Angel you can do anything” and I think she has a point.
The roster of performers for the show include Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Hozier who exclusively unveils sure to be hit song Take Me To Church, and Taylor Swift (there are rumours swirling backstage that Taylor will walk in the next VS Fashion Show).
Taylor is flirty and playful with the Angels on the runway and looks completely at home, she pauses mid-song to twirl Karlie Kloss in her wings and then struts her way back to the end of the runway. Clearly the headliner, she gets two separate performances throughout the show, showcasing a number of songs from her album 1989. Poor Ariana Grande narrowly misses being wiped out by Elsa Hosk wearing a huge graffiti tag during University of Pink, but still manages to give a flawless performance. Phew!
The sets for each show segment are amazing and for something that’s billed as a Fashion Show, it’s so much more than that, it’s an annual spectacle, and the models really make it. They’re given free reign on the runway, when they reach the end of the runway they each take their turn to flirt with the camera, winking, blowing kisses and waving, these girls are pro’s and they know it.
The finale of the show is Angel Ball, the Angels walk on a black and white checkerboard in an array of amazing black ensembles, as they reach the end of the runway black and white balloons drop from the ceiling and cover the stage an audience and once again the Angels switch into Fun Mode and stride through them blowing kisses as they go.
After the show there’s an opportunity to go backstage for the obligatory Class of 2014 photo op and we get to hang out with the Angels some more, some of them are still in their costumes, others are in their Angel robes, but all of them are up for a giggle and a photo. It’s easy to see why each of these girls has been cast; it’s more than having an amazing body, long legs and rock hard abs, it’s more than being staggeringly beautiful, it’s about having all of those things and a rocking personality, being able to switch it on at the drop of a hat. None of these girls moan, they’re all happy to be here and it shows, there are no diva antics backstage, they’re all up for a bit of mischief and the relaxed atmosphere here really helps to bring that out.
At £12k per ticket it’s hella expensive and only available through an exclusive concierge service but in the industry it’s one of the hottest tickets around and I’m super pleased (and lucky) to be able to say that it was staged in my City and that I was invited along for the ride!
The full 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show can be viewed here (if you look hard you can spot me in the background during the backstage takes):
View my slideshow gallery below: