What is Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? Things You Should Know About It

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was an annual fashion show sponsored by and featuring Victoria’s Secret, a brand of lingerie and sleepwear. First held in 1995, the show featured some of the world’s leading fashion models such as Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, and Adriana Lima.

A Brief History

The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1995. It was a much simpler affair then, featuring models in the brand’s catalog. Over the years, the show evolved into a star-studded event often described as the “Super Bowl of fashion.”

In 1999, the show made the move to primetime television. It was broadcast on ABC and starred models Heidi Klum and Stephanie Seymour. This helped grow the Victoria’s Secret brand and make its fashion show one of the most-watched fashion events each year.

The first show of the 2000s, held in Cannes, France, cost $5 million. It cemented the status of the fashion show as a must-see spectacle.

Growing Popularity in the 2000s

In the 2000s, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show became a major pop culture event. Top designers were eager to have their lingerie and accessories worn on the Victoria’s Secret runway.

The show helped launch the modeling careers of ladies like Karolína Kurková in 2001 and Adriana Lima in 2003. It also featured musical performances from stars like Justin Timberlake and Usher, drawing more attention.

The 2006 show, held in Los Angeles, California, was the most-watched broadcast in the show’s history with over 15 million viewers. Maroon 5 and Mary J. Blige performed as models wore lingerie adorned with everything from precious gems to chocolate.

Advancing Production Values

Over the years, Victoria’s Secret incorporated more elaborate sets and visuals to make the show a fantasy-like spectacle. The 2012 show in New York City featured its largest set ever, valued at $12 million.

Advanced lighting and projection technology transformed the runway, taking the audience from London to Paris to New York and beyond. This allowed the brand to showcase different lingerie collections in fully immersive environments.

The 2014 show incorporated a multi-million dollar fantasy bra worn by model Alessandra Ambrosio. Encrusted with diamonds and other gems, these fantasy bras became a yearly tradition and representation of the show’s lavishness.

Angels Take Flight

Starting in the late 1990s, Victoria’s Secret began selecting models to represent the brand as “Angels.” Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, and Adriana Lima were some of the first ladies given this coveted title.

These contracted models appeared prominently in Victoria’s Secret advertising campaigns, catalogs, and fashion shows. For many, it was a springboard to further success in modeling or entertainment.

Becoming an Angel became one of the most prestigious accomplishments in the modeling industry. Ladies like Karlie Kloss, Behati Prinsloo, and Lais Ribeiro joined the ranks through the 2000s and 2010s.

Winding Down

In 2019, Victoria’s Secret announced that they were canceling the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show after 24 consecutive years.

While still a major brand, Victoria’s Secret has faced several challenges in recent years. Critics argued the show did not celebrate diverse body types. Others felt the spectacular nature of the show no longer resonated with audiences.

While the annual show has ceased operations, it left behind an impressive legacy. The over-the-top presentations brought lingerie and runway fashion into the mainstream like never before. For many models, the chance to wear the coveted angel wings was a career-defining opportunity.

Final Walk Down the Runway

After over 20 years of star-studded runway shows, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came to an end. But it transformed runway modeling into the spectacle we know today.

The collections, musical guests, and of course, the Angels, made the show must-see TV throughout the 2000s. It normalized the idea that lingerie fashion could be glamorous, sexy, and larger than life.

While others may try to replicate its success in the future, there will only be one original Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Love it or hate it, its impact on popular culture and the modeling industry can’t be denied.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

When was the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show held?

The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held in 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

How did the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show evolve?

Over time the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show grew into a hugely popular event with expensive, fantasy-like productions featuring musical guests and famous models known as “Angels.”

Who were some of the famous Angels in Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows?

Some famous Victoria’s Secret Angels included Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, and Karlie Kloss.

How many people watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?

At its peak popularity, over 15 million viewers tuned in to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on network television in the 2000s.

Why did Victoria’s Secret ultimately decide to cancel the fashion show?

Declining ratings and criticism over the lack of diversity led Victoria’s Secret to cancel their annual fashion show in 2019 after 24 consecutive years.


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