If there was a prize for production value in the runway world, the award would undoubtedly go to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Year after year, the toned and tanned angels strut their wings, kissing, winking and waving like it’s going out of style—and the 2014 edition was no exception. I was lucky to see it live last night, and though I’m sworn to secrecy on many of the deets, here’s a preview of some of the grandeur you can expect when the show airs on December 9 on CBS.
*A new venue. Traditionally the show is held in New York, but for its nineteenth year, it’s been relocated to London’s Earl’s Court to celebrate the brand’s recent launch in Europe.
*It’s VS’s biggest show ever, with 47 models slinking down the light-show runway and over 3,400 guests in stadium-style seating.
*Red blush is back, baby! Bronzer was still omnipresent too, of course, but makeup artist Dick Page first dabbed on red theatre paint from Kryolan. “It gives a flush of youth,” he said backstage.
*There are 39 pairs of wings, including an 18 karat gold set worn by Karlie Kloss, and not one but two fantasy bras, each valued at $2 million and bedazzled with over 16,000 gems. Alessandra Ambrosio sported a ruby version and Adriana Lima, sapphire. The two bombshells walked the runway together, hand-in-hand, to Ed Sheeran’s slow and heartfelt “Thinking Out Loud”—further fueling the rumours that they may soon be hanging up their wings forever.
*The models wear gorgeous heels by Sophia Webster and Nicholas Kirkwood.
*Taylor Swift (Kloss’s BFF) sings “Blank Space” and “Style,” with an outfit change in between. Sadly, she did not offer up the sexed-up rendition of “Shake It Off” that we all longed for (or, at least that *I* longed for). Her act is tame compared to last year’s, but she does come to life each time Karlie passes by, of course. Fun fact: Though less Insta’ed, the singer’s other model BFF is Lily Aldridge, who also lives in Nashville with her husband, Caleb Followill—the frontman of Kings of Leon.
*Ariana Grande wows with a surprisingly likeable performance. With most pre-show buzz centred around Taylor—including the crowd of Swiftie fangirls who lined up at 11 a.m. hoping to catch sight of the singer’s arrival—Ariana seemed second fiddle. But she wins for showmanship, belting out a trio of her hits with much booty shaking (and smacking).
*Hozier is there, too. If Ariana’s scheduled appearance seemed overlooked, Hozier’s was practically forgotten. But the Irish artist did not disappoint. (FYI, he plays Vancouver on February 15 and in Toronto on March 2.)
*The bods remain ridiculously fit. Behati Prinsloo, who opened the show, told me she prepped with L.A. trainer Harley Pasternak. “I’ve been doing fun things—a lot of cardio and a little bit of weights,” she said. “I also did some yoga. And I tried to eat healthier; [lots of] protein and vegetables. I cut out bread and pasta—my favourite things! But it’s been a fun two weeks and I feel really good, healthy and ready.”
*Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn and Yumi Lambert hit the famed runway with a good dose of VS cheekiness.
*Edmonton’s Grace Mahary struts her stuff in a neon number—woot!
*There are more air kisses than you can count (duh).
*As per usual, there’s a slew of set changes, including an impressive fiery opening scene and a sweet slumber party.
*Also as per usual, the front row is stacked with celebs—including Poppy Delevingne (who skipped her sister Cara’s walk at Chanel’s pre-fall show in Salzburg), Olivia Palermo, Ed Westwick, Ellie Goulding and more.
*Finally, there’s an epic ballon-drop finale. When one tumbles near Doutzen Kroes, she gives it a boot and almost stumbles in her stilettos. I hope it makes it to air just to see the veteran Angel gracefully laugh it off.