In 2017, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is an elaborate spectacle from start to finish, where superstars like Karlie Kloss, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Bella Hadid don expensive (and heavy) now-iconic wings, flaunt bombshell hair, and Fantasy Bras with million dollar price tags. Not to mention, the millions of Swarovski crystals, dozens of glam squads, hours of gym time the angles put in, and the extensive social media posts used to promote the runway show.
But that's not how things always were.
The first-ever Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, 20 years ago, was a much simpler and (seemingly) accessible event, according to Cindy Crawford who celebrated this year's show with a throwback for the books. In the video posted to Instagram, the cowboy-hat wearing former host of MTV's House of Style sits atop a horse and warns "the boys" to turn on a "cold shower" before cutting to grainy footage of '90s supermodels, looking, well, very '90s.
They sport cool-tone makeup featuring brown lipstick and pin-straight hair. But it's their simple outfits that stand out in contrast to the flashy and elaborate looks that have become synonymous with the Victoria's Secret spectacles of today. Instead of over-the-top Swarovski crystal-encrusted looks (which never go on sale at any store) the models seem to be wearing exactly what you might find in a vintage catalogue: plain push-up bras, silky slips, and terrycloth bathrobes. There's definitely no Fantasy Bra in sight—it was a tradition that began in 1996 when Claudia Schiffer wore a 100-carat diamond bra in advertisements, but didn't actually walk the runway in it.
The pièce de résistance of Crawford's clip? When the camera cuts to models like Veronica Webb and Keri Claussen being asked, "Who is Victoria?" It appears this isn't a secret taught in Angel Academy, because most of the women don't seem to know. (Natane Adcock even asks if "she's" alive.)
In comparison, this year's show was set in Shanghai, it boasted 55 models from 20 different countries, donning 88 runway looks, and 37 sets of wings. And the $2 million Champagne Nights Fantasy Bra worn by Lais Ribeiro featured 6,000 precious gems. The show also had four performers, including Harry Styles, Miguel, and Leslie Odom Jr. In fact, the international celebration has gotten so much attention that multiple models (including Gigi Hadid) and musical guest Katy Perry were reportedly denied Chinese visas, and the after party was reportedly shutdown by police.
We can only imagine what the show will look like in another 20 years.
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