On Nov. 28 at 10 p.m., millions of viewers from all over the world turned on their televisions to watch 55 of the best models in the world strut down the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway in Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower. Over 80 outfits were created for the show and abided by this year’s themes, which included “Punk Angels,” “Porcelain Angels,” “Winter’s Tale,” “Millennial Nation,” “Nomadic Adventure” and “Goddesses.”
Leather, zippers, chains and studs opened the runway with the “Punk Angels” theme. Lace, tulle and flower-embellished wings floated down the runway in the “Winter’s Tale” section. Looks inspired by the Greco-Romans came down the runway during the “Goddesses” section, and included golden wings and gladiator sandals.
The “Porcelain Angels” section included sets of black lace lingerie with delightful light-colored wings and veils. Youthful, sportswear-inspired looks were seen during the “Millennial Nation” section, which featured lingerie from Victoria’s Secret PINK store, with thigh high socks, metallic bombers and jerseys, all covering brightly colored, strappy lingerie.
The show closed off with the “Nomadic Adventure” section, which included a selection of Native American-inspired looks. This section has since been criticized for cultural appropriation, an issue that the show has encountered in the past with similarly inspired looks.
Thigh-high boots, lace-up bustiers, long capes and of course wings were seen throughout the show. Classic bombshell waves, bronzed cheekbones, soft eyeshadow and lots and lots of mascara epitomized the typical Victoria’s Secret hair and makeup look, which was created this year by makeup artist Tom Pecheux.
The performances that took place during the show included Harry Styles, former member of British boy band One Direction, who performed his new single “Kiwi” while decked out in a Gucci suit and Victoria’s Secret PINK button down. Additional performers were Miguel, Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Chinese pop singer Jane Zhang. World-famous pop singer Katy Perry was scheduled to perform, but encountered trouble, as her visa was revoked. Other show participants also ran into visa trouble, with many models dropping out last minute for similar reasons.
Model disappointments did not just happen off the runway, as Victoria’s Secret saw its first model in history to fall on the runway. This was Chinese model, Xi Ming, who slipped on the runway and made a quick recovery, though the moment was not edited out of CBS’s broadcast.
Although there were many disappointments, Victoria’s Secret still lived up to its name with many surprises. 29-year-old South African model, Candice Swanepoel opened this year’s show during the “Punk Angel” section, only a year after giving birth to her first child. As per tradition, she wore a fantasy bra. Model Lais Ribeiro wore the Champagne Nights Fantasy Bra during the “Goddesses” section. The bra, worth $2 million, was designed by jewelry designer Mouawad Looks for an outfit that also included a studded leather jacket and bustier designed by Balmain, giving the show a bit of punk flavor.
Every shoe on the runway was designed for the show by luxury footwear designer Brian Atwood. Among the 55 models that walked down the runway in this high fashion gear were supermodels Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Behati Prinsloo, Lily Aldridge and Bella Hadid. This was Ambrosio’s final show as the 36-year-old model bid farewell to the audience after 17 years of partaking in the show.
Backstage, it was more hectic than ever, but the models managed to retain their calm as they sat in Victoria’s Secret classic pink and white pajamas getting their hair and makeup done for the big show. Supermodel Karlie Kloss was found backstage being interviewed about her recent two-year break from the show while she studied programming at New York University.
Many Chinese bloggers were found backstage streaming to their followers, stirring some commotion in the background. Famous Chinese bloggers, magazine editors, movie directors and socialites were all seen in the front row of the show. Although the prep for the production went well, the conclusion to the night ran into some issues. The famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show after-party, which all the models and A-List guests attend, ended up being shut down by the Chinese police, again highlighting some of the additional difficulties that the show ran into by being hosted in China.
Although the show went relatively smooth, the political issues it encountered tremendously increased the amount of work put into it. This year’s list of performers, though successful, was not as stacked as in previous years, which included Kanye West, Jay-Z, Adam Levine and many more. Similar to the decline in the show’s lineup, this year had a record low viewing audience on television. This was even reflected in the publicity the show received, with fewer articles than ever being written about it.
Plus-sized models took to social media during and after the show to remind women that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show does not reflect what real women look like. Society might be moving away from the looks and values seen in the show, but the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will forever remain iconic with its glitz, glam and wings.