PSA: The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will air in Australia on Channel Ten, 8:30pm Saturday December 7th. Below, is what the show was like firsthand.
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has long been considered the biggest fashion event in the world and with over 1.6 billion people watching the TV coverage in 190 countries across the world last year alone, despite recent controversies, the runway extravaganza shows no signs of slowing down. For 2018, the US lingerie giant returned home to New York City, after two shows abroad (Paris in 2016 and Shanghai in 2017). Enlisting the world's most famous models - Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid, as well as some of the biggest performers right now - Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes and Halsey, it was clear Victoria's Secret was making a statement, even before the show began.
Backstage in the hours leading up to the show, models and Angels, including Australia's Shanina Shaik and New Zealand's Georgia Fowler, had their make-up done by Charlotte Tilbury and hair curled into luscious runway ready waves. Candice Swanepoel chatted freely about her workout regime (hint: it's tough) in between mouthfuls of rice and vegetables, while Elsa Hosk, the Angel chosen to wear this year's $1m Fantasy Bra, vaped in between interviews and Bella Hadid posed for selfies.
Speaking to InStyle Australia prior to the madness beginning, Kendall Jenner, who has been open about her mental health struggles, said she tries to "breathe very slowly and deeply and just chill myself out," if she starts to feel anxious, while Fowler noted that even the Angels are nervous before hitting the runway, something she says proves just how much the show means to everyone.
As celebrity guests such as Whitney Port, Olivia Palermo, Alexander Wang and Valentino walked the pink carpet at Pier 94 on New York’s Upper West Side, others drank champagne and took photos beside the illuminated (pink, of course) Victoria's Secret sign. The front row was filled with famous faces, including Kris Jenner, who broke the strict no phones rule to film every time her daughter, Kendall Jenner, took to the runway and The Weeknd, who sat beside Bella Hadid's mother, Yolanda Hadid, stood to clap whenever his girlfriend took her turn.
Dylan Sprouse stood with his hand over his heart as Barbara Palvin walked and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was notably the loudest audience member, cheering wildly every time his wife, Behati Prinsloo, made an appearance.
American R&B and soul singer Leela James was the first to take to the stage, singing The Greatest Showman’s title track 'This Is Me' with an all-female, all black, choir as Angel Taylor Hill opened the segment wearing red wings and a tartan, pleated mini. The show-stopping looks were reserved for Rita Ora's 'Let You Love Me', as rain fell from the ceiling - so much so that Whitney Port had to swap seats with another guest to avoid the downpour. The PINK section was where 18-year-old Australian Alannah Walton made her debut, alongside New Zealand part-Maori model Maia Cotton.
Hours before taking to the runway Adriana Lima announced the show would be her last with Victoria's Secret, after 20 years and 18 runways with the brand. A tribute to Lima played on the big screen to a Hannah Grace cover of 'Praise You', showing footage from her long career with the brand, before the crowd stood in unison and cheered as the "greatest Angel of all time" walked the runway with tears in her eyes.
The official after-party kicked off as soon as the show ended with models briefly popping backstage to change into their pink carpet outfits and retouch hair and makeup. Performers Shawn Mendes and Rita Ora mingled with audience members, as friends and family members, who went to the earlier 4pm show, arrived at the venue. The dance floor quickly kicked off, but it wasn't long before models and Angels were headed to their private after, after party at Avenue, a trendy Manhattan club, which was strictly closed to the public for the night.
Inside Avenue, Bella Hadid and The Weeknd kissed in a corner, while sister Gigi Hadid mingled with fellow models. Candice Swanepoel, Shanina Shaik, Romee Strijd, Jasmine Tookes, Sara Sampaio, Martha Hunt, Josephine Skriver, Taylor Hill, Georgia Fowler, Devon Windsor, Barbara Palvin, Dylan Sprouse, Lais Ribeiro, Halsey, Shawn Mendes and Rita Ora were among those hitting the dance floor, as bottles of champagne and tequila lined the tables.
As models hail taxis in their sequin dresses in the early hours of Friday morning, there's no denying one thing: Victoria's Secret knows how to put on an entertaining show - and at the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about?
Victoria's Secret is opening its first Australian store in Melbourne's Chadstone shopping centre late November 2018. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will air in Australia on Channel Ten, 8:30pm Saturday December 7th.