It’s the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show! A monument to impractical foundation garments, poor values, and seizure editing! As I promise myself every year, THIS WILL NOT BREAK ME.
Every year, I am incorrect, but I still hold out hope.
OK, this year we have Ellie Goulding, Selena Gomez, and The Weekend performing, once again raising the question of why real performers do this. For the street cred? What?
We also have one million models! Featuring Candice Swanepoel! Adriana Lima! Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge! Behati Prinsloo! Elsa Hosk! Rachel Hibert! Gigi Hadid! I’m starting to recognize the names from previous Victoria’s Secret thingies, which is making me concerned. Also it has just occurred to me to worry whether they all have to live on some sort of compound.
And again, let’s remember who the audience for this show: People who don’t know how to find porn, impressionable adolescent girls who are about to really have the idea that they shouldn’t like their own bodies driven home, and Tyra Banks, who keeps leaning over to tell her friend how she would have walked that one better.
And we’re off! Models exit an elevator in pink shortie bathrobes, because dignity. Makeup rooms! Photographs! More riding the elevators! Are the elevators a theme? Was there always a perky song at the beginning? Two models pretend to turn on a high-voltage switch in their underwear.
That is definitely not proper safety equipment. At least give them helmets. The models have used their underwear and switch to turn on all of New York. Hurr, hurr. I get it.
Showtime 2015! The models freak out backstage, or rather pretend to freak out with an awareness that the cameras are there. So they “freak out” in a fun and beautiful way. The “cool girl” bit from Gone Girl goes through my head. Three two one and some incongruous Pat Benetar music (“Heartbreaker”) sends us off as a model walks out with a stained-glass window strapped to her ass. It says “Love” and also some stars on sticks are shooting out everywhere and this – yes, this – is the state of foundation garments in the modern Western world.
Let us not forget that the lyrics to “Heartbreaker” include “don’t you mess around with me,” which I think is lovingly directed at all the dudes watching this.
OK, this stained-glass outfit also has a bolero jacket, pink panties and orange fringe. I cannot for the life of me tell what this segment is supposed to be, but I guess jackets are a theme? The next model has a military jacket, bikini underwear, and thigh-high leopard boots, because the first rule of commanding troops is to get their attention.
(OK, I looked up the theme because it was baffling me and it’s “Boho Psychedelic.” I’m glad to be hearing Pat Benetar, but I have no idea why she’s here.)
And now we have a butterfly with a Spanish skirt and pom-pom butterfly wings and one with transparent-iridescent wings, and once again someone on this show does not know the difference between an angel and a fairy.
ARE THEY OR ARE THEY NOT ANGELS? If you’re not going to give a woman wings, give her a harp or a halo or a flaming sword or something with which she can impregnate a virgin. Let the models really feel it, is what I’m saying.
Oh one poor woman is in a poncho, with no wings at all.
What the hell? Who did she burn in the Secret Santa last year? OK, another flowy half-skirt over a pink corset. This theme is so wild and Boho we’ve already run out of ideas. We cut to Caitlyn Jenner and awful Kris Jenner and Kanye West both filming instead of watching, so I guess that was Kylie. IF SHE’S SUCH A BIG DEAL, GIVE HER WINGS?
Black Bikini angel with rotting psychedelic wings is more my style, though, again, she is clearly a bad fairy. You can tell by the striped thigh-high boots. And once again, a model is trying her best to furl a flowy psychedelic cape around over her underwear and leopard boots. This theme blows. Did they put a bunch of it off and then throw together what they could find in the trunks in the attic or what?
Ooh, dotwings over white Daisy Duke shorts! I guess the idea is that the acid has kicked in now.
Fringy lady and zebra panties is doing her best to work it even though she’s basically in a shawl. Points for committing, ma’am.
Ooh, here comes the Angel of Death’s sexy temp replacement who won’t work out.
More vests! And I didn’t think it was possible given the current laws of time and space, but there is EVEN WORSE editing this year. It’s like each editor gets WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LET ANYONE SEE THE OUTFITS carved backwards onto his face so that’s all he can see when he looks in the mirror.
More flowy psychedelic prints that completely draws focus from the underwear. Well designed!
OK, this angel has magpie wings and see-through spangled Elvis pants over black underpants. Ma’am! WE CAN SEE THEM. WE CAN SEE YOUR UNDERPA- oh, never mind. Also: Tyra Banks insisted on wearing see-through pants over bodysuits all through the Top Model finale. What exactly is Victoria’s Secret trying to pull? No, we will not buy them. Our country fights over literally everything, but if there’s one thing we can unite on, it’s not buying see-through pants.
Oh, no, we’re doing that wretched thing where we hear the production headset chatter as though we give a shit. I know, I know – it makes it feel urgent and important. Sigh.
Speaking of making people feel important, now is the part where we pretend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is momentous and newsworthy. No. It’s an hour of underwear. Stop this.
The models talk about how the fashion show has been in many big and exciting cities and it’s “like performing.” We also hear that the models are from everywhere and the fans are from everywhere. And music is a part of it! Its all so important! I guess there are people who believe this, that fashion is the main point of the world instead of a distraction, but I thought the rest of us were not supposed to encourage them.
A woman says of Victoria’s Secret “They just keep pushing the boundaries of what a runway show should be.” Well, yes. We don’t hear about the designers and nobody is really buying any of this and we are certainly testing the limits of stupid every year.
OK, look, I know I’m being crabby, but WHY? You have your giant show on network television and a whole lot of money and attention are being throw around. Why the insistence on pretending that this is a serious thing of international import? It’s beautiful women in their underwear. Not the most enlightened or non-sexist form of entertainment and it does have a certain hoary beauty pageant vibe, but it does have an inherent appeal, so make your peace with it and go about it honestly and stop pretending that this is right up there with the Paris climate change talks. Just have the models walk around in their skivvies and everybody have a good time, OK? Criminy.
Next is “Portrait of an Angel” with music by The Weekend!
Ooh, it’s sparkly angel with LOTS of stuff on sticks.
Are they cups? Owls? Birthday candles? I have no idea. And the Tissue-flower-wing angel and then a woman with no wings, just a spangly jacket. I know I keep calling out those looks, but I always feel bad for the models who don’t get wings. Plus if you’ve been hammering away at a damned angel theme for as long as Victoria’s Secret has, DO THE THEME. A lot of these women are not angels.
Case in point: One is just in a ball gown with a giant front cutaway so you can see her underpants.
That’s actually the original version of Cinderella, by the way. The prince had to find the woman who fit into a pair of tiny, spangly underpants. It was kind of a gross kingom.
Aw, the Lacebow Angel just drew a heart in the air. With that extra effort, she’s going to do fine. Conversely, the angel in a silk jacket, elegant necklace, and no shirt or pants will have less of a successful first day at the office than she thought.
One woman just has a random band-thing around her waist for no reason with her giant poofy sleeves
…and she just turned around and her ass is hanging out so never mind. Focus on the band.
More poofy sleeves and another skirt like they just forgot to put the front panel on. Maybe they did forget to put the front panels on. I hope these are marked down. FINALLY SOME WINGS with FEATHERS. Is that so much to ask?
The wings are very floofy and they sort of spill down the front, but this angel feels so superior because a bordello angel is right after her. At least the bordello angel’s random waist-thing has garter straps. But they aren’t attached to anything because Victoria’s Secret is trying to take all the meanings away from clothes. Go outside in chaps and a bonnet! Nothing means anything anymore!
Golden-Sliced-Dried-Mushroom-Wings angel is trying real hard, but she has those wings.
The angel who has tied up a bunch of embroidered wafty curtains to make her wings is here and we must admire her courage and industry. And here is 80’s shoulders angel with black peacock wings. YOUR UNDERPANTS ARE HANGING OUT black peacock angel!
What I have next in my notes is “This is why Tyra Banks thinks this shit is normal,” because we cut to the models constantly and compulsively taking selfies, and that is treated as a totally natural and awesome idea, just always always documenting and uploading yourself for the enjoyment and commentary of strangers.
And I get it: Modeling is a visual medium and these women need to market themselves to further their careers, but one angel says Instagram is how she lets people into her life, which, no. Instagram is how she attracts followers to up her cachet. Let’s not pretend.
We’re in a land of skewed values in general here: Focus on looks, and hey! There’s Kendall Jenner of the Kardashian clan who are mostly famous for nothing and that’s supposed to be an awesome thing too!
Minutes go by and we are still talking about selfies and what angles and how high to hold your phone like this is a good thing to focus even a tiny fraction of your life on.
Young people! That show is run by The Man! This is a good thing to rebel against! You can do it!
The models talk about how when you earn your wings your life changes overnight and people know your name. One talks about watching the new girls and experiencing the excitement through them and also getting a keen sense of the end of her career and impending mortality.
Being an angel means being in Times Square on a huge billboard in their underwear and they have so many shoots now in so many cities! Michael Bay directed one of their commercials! Dame Judith Dench coached their dialects! And it’s all so great and life-changing! For the 30,000 year in a row, the models are compared to rock stars, this time because Victoria’s Secret angels live a life of flashbulbs and red carpets!
Two models were in the “Bad Blood” video and walked at T-Swift’s concerts! It was such an adrenaline rush! Just like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and yes, we brought it back around.
It’s the Butterfly section. So many butterflies!
The butterfly set is lovely and Ellie Golding is singing and it has to be weird to keep going knowing that she will soon be surrounded by underpants.
One model is in pink panties and then on top she is essentially re-enacting the birds but with butterflies on pipe cleaners. And now here’s an angel in tea underwear and a flowing cape and giant black butterfly skeletons stuck to her like they died there.
Clearly they were Doom Butterflies, so maybe that’s for the best.
Here is a plastic straws butterfly, and one with real goddamn wings finally, but she has butterflies smacked all over her like she’s a windshield.
One has a vaguely winglike skirt instead of wings. NO, IT DOES NOT COUNT. One crosses herself before going onstage. Can you blame her? Ooh, the Black Monarch butterfly (FAIRY) angel will rule us all.
The next butterfly-fairy-angel is being embraced by a terrifying werebutterfly, but she’s bearing up well. She’s a pro. The corsetfly with boots is fine.
She wiggles a lot at the end of the runway. Is that Kendall again? I should look it up, but I can’t make myself care.
Aw, Wiltywings Butterfly makes me sad. At least she has nice black-spangle patterns on her wilted wings.
Oh, no, one just has a million feathers shooting out of her shoulders instead of wings. She sort of looks like an explosion.
Another corset, this one with wings she clearly ripped off someone else and just hastily stuck them in random spots on her own body, and now one just in a little cape. So sad.
Ooh, majestic pink wings, big like sails, and a little beaded crop-top! She is the Alpha Butterfly for sure.
A model dances backstage. I think at one point, deep in the mists of time, a model got caught dancing backstage in a genuinely spontaneous and fun moment, and now they’re being made to. BE FUN, DAMMIT. BE EFFORTLESSLY SEXY AND FUN. BE A COOL GIRL.
Wilty seems to be happy and doing well, considering, but Pink sailwing butterfly seems to have been lightly injured in the scuffle backstage. We’ll never know. Heal well!
And here is, in a show that is rife with questionable elements, the single most appalling thing: The Models Are Just Fit Portion.
I hate this fucking thing so much. This is where Victoria’s Secret, in full knowledge that the modeling industry has an epidemic of unhealthy eating patterns and young women being pushed to be even less healthy, shouts and shouts and shouts about how the models are just really, really athletic. Because certainly no student athletes are comparing themselves to the VS models right now and feeling like they don’t match up or anything. The models, playing right along, say you need to be string and no one even mentions dieting, because then we would get into the part about crash diets and juice-soaked cotton balls. One model says she works out hard seven days a week, sometimes two times a day. Do you know how many fitness trainers advise doing that? NONE. BECAUSE IT ISN’T HEALTHY.
Oh, here’s some progress: They do admit to sweating this year! Yes, these models are athletes! That’s all! It feels like they’re training for the Olympics! Another model says she works out every single day, and another says that when she’s in pain, she just thinks about the fashion show.
Here’s the thing. If you want to keep up people’s wanking fantasies and completely ignore the massive pressure these young women are under to damage their health, fine. I mean it’s incredibly sleazy, but OK, fine. But let’s drop the fucking sequence where we LIE ABOUT IT every year. And how about you stop pretending on your damn website that all a teenage girl has to do to look like one of your “model athletes” is five simple moves? Because when young women do the workouts and still can’t measure up, they’re in danger of adopting obsessive exercise or unhealthy eating patterns. You know, like a big chunk of the modeling industry.
All the shouting of how STRONG and FIT and HEALTHY all the models are reminds me of the Duggars: keep shouting about virtue so no one will notice the rot underneath that produced your eldest son.
OK, time for some filler about New York! We’re at the castings! Gigi has always been watching the show and would pretend to walk in the show as an adolescent (AS SOME GIRLS DO, SO MAYBE MAKE AN EFFORT TO NOT SCREW THEM UP, IS WHAT I’M SAYING) and she gets cast! Her dream! She says yes, she can join them on November 9th and 10th. Did you know it takes a whole month to edit the runway show into incoherence?
Gigi and her pal are going to their first rehearsals ever! One of them mentions walking past her sister’s boyfriend in lingerie. No big deal! It’s just like the beach!. They gape at the set and hug each other and here’s a surprise for us, the viewers. We’re going to roof to see that the Empire state building is lit up pink in honor of the show.
Oh, Empire State building. I expected better.
It’s Selena Gomez! Time for whatever I don’t care. She is wearing a very very low cut dress and there are moving test patterns on the screens behind her and her backup dancers are in sort of slinky-snaky biker outfits.
Ladies, those outfits won’t offer any real protection.
We have gone a surprisingly long tine without pantsless models. Ah, there they are in a burst!
The first one is the Amurrican flag wing model! So respectful! Next is the astronaut model! What the fuck is going on?
Now an angel with finish line tape for wings. Inspiring! Ah, the astronaut model has PINK on her outfit. That explains it. The Pink segment is always the most terrible and embarrassing by far. It’s where they put you if you mention that your agent tried to get you to crash diet again. HEY TEENAGERS! ASTRONAUTS AND FLAGS. Oh, hell. We don’t know what you like. Just buy some pants with PINK across the butt.
Now there is some VERY impractical winter wear that is a sweater and pink ear muffs and mittens and an exposed midriff and knit hot pants. Gosh, I can’t seem to warm up. Why do you think that is? And now for the corporate look: hot pants and suspenders over an open pinstripe shirt.
Looks like Fran in H.R. is going to have to send out another memo.
Oh, snap, they pranked the next angel with balloon wings! She’s wearing a pink crinoline bunched up around her waist and tied there and then a gazillion balloons.
I think the other not-angels thought she would float away, but clearly nobody involved here understands anything about what it takes to lift off the ground.
And now a cowgirl. These are so bad. What is the point of this? It’s like they’re outfits made based on preschool job aspirations, but with no pants. OK, not jobs, really. Now there is a competing biker look. She hates her outfit so much.
Good lord, there is a firewoman angel.
Way to salute our brave first responders! And now here is Bondage Cop.
Officer! Your ass is hanging out! That’s no way to assert your dominance!
Wait a minute. Cop. Cowgirl. Black leather. Did someone try to sneak in a full Village People of looks? If you did, brave soul, I salute you.
Wetsuit angel with a surfboard stuck to her back is practical, but the other angels keep resting their drinks on her when she bends over. Why is the Pink one always the worst by such a wide margin? WHY?
Gigi loved it that section! Selena felt like she was dancing with her girlfriends in her room! OK!
It’s the Christmas part! The models pretend to give each other the same present over and over. It’s pictures of them as kids. And then one model holds mistletoe and pretends to kiss another on the cheek, because tee-hee straight girls bleaarrrgh. They’re doing this in red silky bathrobes, because Christmas, and now it’s time to be lightly suggestive about whether they have been naughty or nice — hee hee hee!
Wow, so really? Just screw all the other winter holidays then? No dreidel angels for the holiday it is right now? Ugh, to hell with this show. Call me when you have angels feasting by a pagan Yule log.
OK, Ellie is back with some glowing pine trees and an old lodge of some sort. Cozy!
One angel is in a nude body stocking that’s just wrapped in fake tinsel and has snowflake wings. By which I mean it’s one snowflake cut in half to make two wings. If it was two snowflakes, her wings would never match.
The angel with the most luxurious white fake-fur dandelion tuft hat is punished by having the camera just flat-out zoom straight in on her crotch. Another angel a has a poofy Russian hat and then a corset that is sort of lurching up out of itself and mutating like John Carpenter’s Thing.
The Skiing Angel has a nice, practical ski jacket and no pants and not so much wings as an albino turkey butt. Once again, it’s all cut bizarrely out of order, because if you can make a narrative out of this, an angel gets a PhD.
Ooh this angel has star wings and a selectively see-through one-piece! I bet these models need so much hot cocoa to stay warm. Well, they ask for hot cocoa. Their managers whack it out of their hands and give them delicious steaming water. TEA IS FOR CLOSERS.
The next model is fake-naked with dangly pom-poms and just a tumble of something down her back. Is it snow? She would definitely feel that and brush it off.
The Peacock Snowbutt look returns from a past year!
We have truly run out of ideas.
Thank goodness, a real snowy angel with real wings and boots and, um, no pants. And this one has a HUGE poofy circle of feathers. Which, again, is not a pair of angel wings. is a turkey butt.
More ski goggles. Is she the snowboarder? Haa one angel is has giant head-wrapping ear muffs.
Oh, no, the shiny metallic underwear angel – that looks so very cold! No wonder her wings are standing up.
The Fantasy Bra! Always and only worn by one of the top models. She must have boobs that can withstand anything! This year it’s Lily, and as is tradition she gets to drink the blood of any rookie model of her choice.
“This year’s bra is meant to look like fireworks.” That is a thing that has been said. So we’re pretty much done with words and things having particular categories. This year’s socks are meant to sound like dreaming. This year’s pants are meant to smell like commas. This year’s elbows taste like Avogadro’s Number.
Back to the Fantasy Bra. There are 6500 gems on that bra!
Ouch. This is a fantasy for whom? Lily looks at the bra and then gently harasses the fake guard. She’ll be back when it’s time to put that thing on some bazooms!
Time for The Weekend and Fireworks One model totally knows the words!
Another model is wearing Truffula trees, not fireworks.
Somewhere a Lorax is weeping into its Fantasy Kleenex.
Yet another model looks naked but with jewels. And now teal bra and panties and instead of wings there is a giant floaty pink and purple OH, MY GOD, SHE HAS DECAPITATED ANIMAL FROM THE MUPPETS AND IS WEARING HIS HEAD AS A GRISLY TROPHY.
And now, to lighten the mood, a fake-naked model with sea anemones sprouting from her back.
Oof, this model’s feather plume has turned into a spinning twirly turkey butt to go with her flame tentacles. One model has wheels on her back. They are definitely not wings, but they light up so she gets a pass.
Another model has birdbutt instead of wings again, but at least she picked an exotic bird. One model has rockets on her shoulders. Oh, please let them be working rockets.
And now this one is a very feminine Doctor Octopus. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Hey! Some stars finally! Now we see fake-naked models dancing, which they might as well do because NONE OF THES GODDAMNED ANGELS CAN FLY. Designers, what the hell?
Now here is an angel whose wings are made of holiday lights and your dad spent all day swearing while he put those on, so just let him drink a beer in peace for ten minutes, OK?
OK, that last group was just cheap spectacle. The designers are so freaking bored with wings. Maybe take a year off from this entirely pointless exercise? No? Fine.
The useless headset chatter goes full blast because it’s finale time and all the models walk and there are balloons and confetti and thank goodness we are done and we have been assault-edited so we never actually thought about any of the outfits and GOD, this show.
I’m sure most of the models are very nice people and all but this thing is just the worst. I bet Aphrodite spends the whole time stopping Athena from just hammering the place. Oh, it’s class picture time! Be sure to top off this evening of strong female empowerment by letting us hear a guy ordering the models around as though they are children, OK? Thanks!
OK, that one was super uneventful except for the 15 existential crises. Break me all you want, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, but never bore me.
OK, get out there and enjoy the holiday season and be safe. Bundle up except for your midriff, legs, and groin, and give yourself a treat – go out in your very fanciest turkey butt.