OK, I’ll admit it: I watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for the first time last year and I was not properly braced and it might have made me go into something like a panicked fugue state.
Well, it’s not happening this year. I know what I’m up against. I’m ready to find the empowerment and the joy. And lots of underpants. Come on and join me, won’t you?
HAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA We’re leading in with a Viagra commercial. Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show knows their core audience: Men who like looking at ladies but are maybe not comfortable with Internet searches. Because when you ask your secretary – sorry, administrative assistant – to do it, suddenly you’re in the middle of a lawsuit when you didn’t even goddamned touch her.
Here we go!
First, we learn about how tough and enduring the city of London is. Good luck, city: This show’s dumb will rip the dome right off St. Paul’s Cathedral. God, I hope they have a model dressed like the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Or maybe two of them.
And once again we learn the model’s first names while looking at them in their underwear. I’m trying not to feel weird about that.
Ooh, the light burst in the back looks sort of like a phoenix! Because no matter how many times you try to bring them down, these panties WILL rise again!
As always, we have theme groups.
Let’s give props to the gilded angels, folks. It’s super hard to fly with all that extra weight from the gold. If any of these angels get sick or weak, they just go clonking straight to the ground. And then they can’t lift straight off and they have to flap around on the floor like bats. If you see one, help her up onto a ledge so she can soar away.
Wait, the first model looks like she has purple wings. This is bullsh–no, we’re good. She is the Golden Gladiator angel. And then there is CapeWing Angel. GET YOUR DAMN WINGS UP, WOMAN, THIS IS THE BIG SHOW.
Asymmetrical spiky angel! Her mom is so embarrassed. You try to raise them right and this is what they do.
Beskirted angel! I have to be honest: The Gilded Angels are boring. Oops, one has puffy nonfunctional balloon wings. Invite her to the party anyway, OK? Seriously, be nice.
FINALLY, some useful goddamn wings. It’s like almost none of the designers think out the physics of this thing.
Oh, dear, a Fungus Angel. You’re a part of this heavenly ecosystem too, girl. Be proud.
The Angel whose wings got eaten by moths should not have been made to go out there. They should at least have given her some quilting or something.
And then there is Flashy Vegas Angel who doesn’t know she’s tacky. Don’t worry about her: She’ll join Cirque du Soleil later.
GODDAMMIT, THE CUTS ARE EVEN FASTER THIS YEAR. It’s like they’re terrified you’ll actually get an uninterrupted look at one of the outfits. Dudes, we already know these are not functional underwear sets. You don’t have to hide that fact behind seizure editing.
Oh, and again they’re letting us hear the urgent backstage chatter. “Get those wings off!” “Get these wings on!” OK, well we know that second part is faked because there is no way you put on new wings before you change your bra out. That’s just common sense, and I’m no angel.
But still, someone loves to give us this rushing and headset chatter. So important! Well, OK, true, it is important to rush and get your wings on in this situation. If you’re slow, an eagle will just swoop down and grab you, no getting away. They’re always looking for that.
We flash back and learn that the models are excited to be in London and also this show. There will be wings! And underwear! And music! (Spoiler!)
We also learn that there are more models than ever this year: 47! And also more outfits than ever. Try not to think about the island nations we could have fed instead!
And leading us off, it’s Taylor Swift! LADIES, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO SHAKE IT OFF.
Oh, no. Powder Puff Wing angel is so humiliated. You know the other angels all bop their faces into her. Taylor is nice to her because she gets being made fun of and also holy crap.
NightieWing angel is a terrible super hero. I’m sorry. I’m just reporting the facts here.
OK, I get it: These dream angels are dreaming angels, because I guess Ambien is a problem in Heaven too. They all have nightie capes and lingerie from fantasy sequences from ‘80s teen sex comedies.
Whoops! I think Taylor almost fell over there. It’s OK, hon. We’re all overstimulated.
One model was dancing back stage in a clearly staged but genuinely sexy moment, and so we cut away in a nanosecond. Just like last year, we get a bunch of smash cuts to let us bozos know what parts of a lady we should look at – HERE ARE BOOBS! HERE ARE LEGS! HERE IS CROTCH! DID YOU WANT STOMACH? OK, ONE SECOND AND THEN CROTCH! – but we’re not ever supposed to appreciate something about the whole woman, such as how she moves. You know, all the pieces of her at once. Call me a crazy dreamer.
Speaking of crazy dreamers, that last angel was wearing German beer hall lingerie. I swear it.
Oh, no. One angel thinks she’s a butterfly, but she actually has the ceiling fan from the civilian bar in a Vietnam war movie on her back. Don’t tell her; she’s happy.
Back from commercial! We learn that Adriana and Alessandra are two of the greatest models ever and the quintessential Victoria’s Secret angels. We also learn they’ve been doing this since they were fifteen, so try not to think about the jailbait you may or may not have been ogling, folks!
Adriana and Alessandra are angels…but they are devilish! And they’re friends. We get a lightning-fast clearly false hint at ladyplaying, and then we REAL FAST learn that they are also moms. Jeepers, maybe it’s just that no one involved in this show even knows what they want to focus on for more than three seconds.
We learn that the fantasy bra is a “major event” and a “huge, huge honor,” and usually there is only one, like it’s a Highlander bra, but this year both Adrianna and Alessandra get to wear one! It’s a holiday miracle!
Well. I guess we don’t have to remind them to pack enough underwear.
Hi, Ed Sheeran! Did you ever think you’d be here?
Adriana and Alessandra come out first, and they are dressed in complimentary blue and red harem girl fantasy outfits, symbolizing the Crips and the Bloods and how at the end of the show they have to fight to the death. It’s sad, but that’s the way of the fashion world.
So the travel theme is making me jumpy, like when Tyra Banks starts talking about “representing ethnicities” on Top Model you know it’s never going to be a good thing and oh, GOOD LORD an Aztec number just came out and all my offensometers went off.
And then I think a matador?
And maybe a parrot? Is this angel going with a Jimmy Bufffet theme? Where the hell are we? I think the theme is “warm places where the designers have not been and maybe have not even looked up.” Why do these Exotic Traveler ladies not wear wings? They could save so much on airfare.
Another feathered number that we’ll pretend is Thanksgiving comes out and please, please stop with the Vaguely Stereotypical Native American looks.
OK, so the real theme of this segment is thigh-highs and feathers and bolero jackets. I think the designers are starting to get fatigued with the whole underwear thing. Designers, next year you should shake things up. Next year make the underwear out of plants or household appliances.
Oh, wow, that model killed and skinned a bear cub before going onstage. That takes a lot of focus, but it was worth it for that jacket. And I think the next one was meant to be a Spanish dancer?
Standby! More backstage urgency! I think this makes them feel important, having us see all the urgency and the yelling. It’s OK, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show team. When people at my job want to feel important, they use bigger words than they need to.
Lily tells us being a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show model is like being a rock star. And then she turns to the side, vomits a fifth of Jager all over her Fender Stratocaster, and starts screaming about why the fuck there are still brown M&Ms in that dish.
Other models are so nervous! Candace says it’s pandemonium! One model had to get shoved out on stage last year! The models worry about tripping and/or falling, and I don’t blame then one bit. No one wants to own the internet with a combination high-heel catastrophe and ta-ta spill.
Oh, and she tells us that nailing that end of the runway pose is just like scoring a touchdown. With fewer brain injuries. One assumes.
And then we get a VS commercial with that drill-into-your-brain chorus of the carol of the bells song, implying that all a woman wants is harem girl underoos. I beg to differ.
University of Pink
The efficient thing about the University of Pink is that they don’t hand you a diploma. They just print it across your butt.
Oh, god, one of these angels has graffiti wings. College!
Hello, Ariana Grande! Taka a gander! She’s in lingerie just like Taylor Swift was, but Ed Sheeran got to wear big-boy clothes while he sang. The hell? They should at least make the boys wear boxers and smoking jackets. Plus black socks with slippers.
Oh, dear, we’re in her big song, but this audience is so not here for the music. Oh! And now Ariana is visited by jumpsited spacemen! Because college? Oh, they’re male cheerleaders. Of the future? Then why are they dressed like the Brady Bunch when they were the Silver Platters?
Another angel has a loincloth. You know, like you wear around campus. I understand why the Pink segment is always the worst, but why is it always the worst by such an enormous margin?
Another Pink angel pulled one of each sock out of the drawer and stuck it all over her clothes. Yay, felt! And the next angel has lots of stars!
Holy biscuits, do we mix leopard print and polka dots now? Is that a thing?
One woman seems to have pink clouds. Pink Cloud was the rumored name of the substance lifeguards poured into the pool when we were kids. Supposedly if you peed, it would make a pink cloud around you. I’m pretty sure that concept could be worked into this segment.
What is with the prevalence of garters with little thigh-level pom poms this year? Pro tip: Don’t lounge around in those if you have cats.
Oh, dear. One woman is in workout clothes with Steelers colors and no wings in sight and you can tell she just told her family not to watch.
PATTERNS, PATTERN, PATTERNS Apparently they are what the sophisticated tween who wants to be a college girl is wearing nowadays. All the patterns, all at once. Jesus, the number of pink and turquoise leopards who gave their lives for this. Pour some kibble on the floor for them.
The male space cheerleaders are still dancing, and it’s faintly embarrassing. Good effort, male space cheerleaders. I wish anyone at all was here to see you.
Models pretend to spontaneously twerk and grind backstage. Oof.
Everyone involved in this show thinks Victoria’s Secret is important. Like not on a fashion level, but on a historic, international relations level. And the wings, of course, are iconic. We learn what a bitch it is to put the wings together. The gilded wings are described as the most goddess-like, duh. Oh, goodness, it takes a year, an entire calendar year, to make all these outfits. Am I the only one who just got depressed?
I was hoping we’d get to see Cinderella’s stepmother and the woodsman who slips the evil queen some deer entrails instead of Snow White’s innards, but it looks like it’s just going to be fairies. Well, rats. (No, no rats either. So far.) (Psst. Victoria’s Secreters! Think of the AMAZING niche market you could capture if you furried the models out just once!)
OK! Let’s look at some fairies in underwear! I’m guessing none of them make you spit frogs or carry you off to marry trolls the way they do in old-school fairy tales. Not that I am judging.
One fairy has butterfly boots but doesn’t know how to use garters. Every damn year they make some of the models look like they don’t know how to use garters. I bet the Frederick’s of Hollywood underwear models run into them at model bars and mock the Victoria’s Secret girls mercilessly. Hell, I bet even the Sears underwear models do it. So unfair.
Silver pointy fairy! In frozen laurels? I kind of want to read that story.
Pastel woodsy hippy vegan fairy! I bet she’s always arguing that the other fairies should respect the mushrooms.
Water leaf fairy! Or whatever! I’m losing the thread!
DAMMIT, SHOW US IN THE REAL ORDER WITHOUT ALL THE SKIPPING AROUND SO WE CAN SEE THE OUTFITS
Green Fairy! Absinthe! Hello!
Oh, dear, one fairy grew her wings all wrong and no one wants to tell her.
One is a dragonfly who snuck in and she’s just brazening it out. I admire her.
And one grew a billion floaty nonfunctional wings instead of one functional set. There’s a metaphor for American politics in there somewhere.
They all hate this line a little bit. The fall leaf fairy swirls her cape to bring that point home and then there is a muscly glitter jewel fairy who might be my favorite. Oh, here’s why these fairies are mad: there is a tree in the damn runway. Like these models don’t have enough to deal with.
We learn about Russell James and his GENIUS photo shoots! He’s different than all other photographers. He’s extreme! He likes to put the models in difficult situations and play pranks on them! Everyone is saying this with sweet smiles, but this sounds like he might be kind of a dick!
Karlie feels that Russell captures women’s power, because she wishes to work again.
I used to be great at making three-pointers in angelball, but it makes the angels really cranky.
Karlie has always loved ballet and has always wanted to be a prima ballerina lifted in the air by a handsome dancer. And now she segues to how modeling is pretty the exact same thing as dancing in terms of creative expression. And then she turns around and vomits a 5th of Jager over her toe shoes.
Karlie gets to enter with Taylor Swift!
They’re wearing slightly different black lingerie. Taylor’s in a rough position here. She wants to be in underwear or at least lingerie to be on brand, but if she wears anything as skimpy as the models, the same internet that has just been ogling the models will call her a slutty mc slutslut slutball whore slut slut, and then she’ll have to write another monster hit telling them to cram it straight up their plugholes.
And that’s a lot of effort and takes like eight months, so instead Swift has compromised with a sheer black overlay and what for lack of a better term I’m going to call duchess panties.
There is clearly an evil angel at the ball. Good. Those are the balls you talk about.
Speaking of evil, my heart bleeds for the angels with useless wings. They have so much rage inside. Think of the angels, designers! Why won’t you think of the angels?
Oh, no, one dark angel grew a coal tree instead of wings. She’s definitely going to curse someone when she realizes it.
Crowtail angel! I like the cut of your jib.
Hey! A completely normal flyable angel! Do you think the others resent her? Or do they assume she’s boring and censor their conversations? So much to learn.
One has a mask and a jacket instead of wings. I bet she serves drinks at the ball.
And one angel has widow veils on her back. Bad-ass, yes, but when she starts flapping it’s sort of embarrassing and the other angels look at their phones. Meanwhile, the tiny black and white angel better love her gray children. It’s so hard to come out as gray.
Another angel with a dress and no wings. This is the cousin that their mom made them bring along and be nice to her, don’t just leave her by the purses.
But the bondage angel DARES you to make fun of her useless wings. She DARES you.
…And another raven-wing angel. No one has gone full-on Maleficent, but she seems to have made her mark.
OK, that’s just a damn party dress with a mask. Yes, it’s a cute one, but that is not the point. Are the wings iconic, Your Honor, or are they not?
AN ANGEL IS USING HER GARTERS CORRECTLY. They are attached to hose and everything! Anything can happen at this show! Anything!
One angel has feathers just shooting out of her shoulders, like they are cartoon pain illustrations.
Talylor graciously nods hello to all of the arriving angels whether they are in real dresses or just in their panties. She must be a hell of a hostess; a true lady makes everyone feel comfortable and at home.
Go, models! There is clapping and there are balloons and pretend fireworks on the wall o’ lighting effects behind them. The Angel Ball angels get to be in front, confirming that they are the heavenly 1%. Seraphim or Thrones or something. One angel adjusts to cover her butt, and rightly so. She’s had a long night. Let her have bun security.
And we take the class photo and we’re Done+Dusted again.
Hey, we all made it through! I did hardly any panic-crying this year. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not. See you next time. Until then, may your underwear always be coordinated and your garters always be properly attached.