PARIS — On Wednesday evening, Paris, the birthplace in 1889 of the modern bra (not to mention the home of many of the world’s greatest fashion houses and runway shows), finally played host to the Fantasy Bra as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show rolled out the pink carpet at the Grand Palais.
“We’ve wanted to come here for many, many years,” said Edward Razek, the executive producer of the show and the chief marketing officer of creative services at Limited Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret. “Without Paris, I wonder whether Victoria’s Secret could ever have existed. So when Les Wexner suggested coming, we set out to do our very best both as a guest in France, and as a host.” Mr. Wexner is the chairman of Limited Brands.
The 45-minute runway show featured 51 models in 82 looks, with a roster that included Kendall Jenner, Adriana Lima, Irina Shayk, Joan Smalls, Alessandra Ambrosio and the sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, as well as a number of fast-rising new faces, such as the Houston native Jourdana Phillips and the Iowan Alanna Arrington.
And then the sweet, lacy nothings went into overdrive. Think of it as a rollicking world tour trussed up in feathers, hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals and sequins paired with towering thigh-highs and stilettos by the shoe designer Brian Atwood.
A series called Mountain Romance featured floral numbers, crystal thistle wings and an outfit, worn by Lily Donaldson, set with more than 2,500 stones. Live performances by Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars — grooving along in a fur coat and shades — and the Weeknd kept the energy running as the models shook their tail feathers, and 43 pairs of wings, for the cameras.
Jasmine Tookes wore the $3 million Bright Night bra set with 450 carats of diamonds and emeralds designed by Eddie Borgo. For the finale, Gaga got her own set of wings (on a white biker jacket), and the 12 angels fronted a final salute amid a shower of silver and gold confetti. The show got a seven-minute standing ovation.
Eighteen months in the making, the event took two weeks to set up and involved equipment transported in 45 trucks, armed soldiers, barricades, multiple checkpoints, photo IDs for all, bomb-sniffing dogs and a plainclothes detail. The usually frigid Grand Palais was heated. Mr. Razek…