Left: Backstage at the Armoury in New York; center: the $3million bra designed by Damiani; right: VS ‘bombshell’ – new to the show – Chanel Iman
“Open your purse!” barked the security guard. “Put it on the floor and step away m’am!” A golden lab ran over, stuck his nose in my YSL Muse handbag, took a couple of sniffs and bounced off. That’s the first time a dog has approved me to get into a fashion show.
And that show was none other than the annual Victoria’s Secret extravaganza, this year, in New York. To get backstage the afternoon of the event, I had to pass through two security checks, a ‘sniffer dog’, and a group of military men dressed in fatigues, and then be personally escorted to the 5th floor of the Armoury on 26th and Lexington (where Marc Jacobs shows during Fashion Week).
Backstage was chaos. The models, 38 in total ranging from “Angels” (Victoria’s Secret ambassadors) Miranda Kerr and Marisa Miller to the new “bombshells” (Angels in training I suppose) including Chanel Iman, were outnumbered by photographers, editors and PR handlers. It’s part of the girls’ job to promote the show – big smiles and scripted quotes are a must – as they’re getting poked, prodded, buffed and combed in preparation for the two shows. (The show is taped at both 4pm and 8pm to ensure a trip-free televised special on CBS December 1st at 10pm.)
I passed one table piled high with hair extensions plus numerous makeup stations littered with false eyelashes, glitter and blush. Over to my right, Marisa Miller was showing off the $3 million Damiani bra, featuring a rare 16 carat heart-shaped diamond, that she wore in the show. In another corner, Heidi Klum posed with two models. Just six weeks after giving birth to her fourth child, Klum looked amazing.
The show itself is unlike the other runway shows I see every season. The Black Eyed Peas opened it with “Boom Boom Pow” as the models pranced by in lingerie, high heels and Victoria Secret’s signature wings. The ‘wings’ ranged from actual feathered wings to sculpted rocket ship shapes to Plexiglas stars and balloons. How can the girls do the serious runway stomp when decked out like that? They encourage the crowd to cheer as they camp it up themselves.
In the audience? Everyone from Jay-Z and Harvey Weinstein to Zac Posen and Alexander Wang. Check out my story in our February issue.
I’ll be back again next week. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lisatant