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By now we’ve all seen the photographs and read the hype about one of the year’s most anticipated runway events: last night’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. For 2010 the theme was A Night of a Thousand Fantasies, broken down into six sections meant to represent different types of women, but as is often the case with these extravaganzas the night was less about showcasing the lingerie giant’s line and more about over-the-top showmanship laced with a good dose of glitter.

Last night’s show began with Tough Love and Adriana Lima strutting her stuff down the runway in a red, black and gold getup complete, of course, with angel wings. Lima is the seeming heir apparent to former head Angel Heidi Klum who recently retired her wings after 13 years fronting for VS. Lima, like supermodel Karolina Kurkova, was returning to the Victoria’s Secret runway for the first time since giving birth and looked absolutely ready to take up Heidi’s mantle, albeit unofficially. Although the fact that the Brazilian supermodel was called upon to sport the $2 million Fantasy Bra designed by Damiani at the show seems to be confirmation enough that she has ascended to the top of the Angel pack.

While millions tune in just to watch beautiful women like Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (the pillow-lipped sweetheart of The Transporter‘s Jason Statham) strut their stuff in their skivvies, others tuning in can’t help but be aware of watching a giant media machine at work.

It only makes sense that a company like Victoria’s Secret be in the business of creating dreams — and, yes, fantasies — for both men and women alike. The beautiful Angels are something to aspire to and desire, yet the show is also a reminder of how much the models also have riding on the spectacle. The fact that amidst boldfaced names like Gerard Butler and Paris Hilton the show’s audience also contained fashion heavy hitters like Carine Roitfeld, Giovanna Battaglia, Alexander Wang and Zac Posen shows just how far VS has come within the industry. Of course, for models success in the fashion world is not just measured by Vogue covers or Chanel runway shows; rather a supermodel is usually only made with big advertising contracts for cosmetics and the like.

In the last decade another clear indicator of having “made it” is gaining entry into the Angels’ club. Watching the bubbly Chanel Iman (above, with musical guest Akon) get her first set of fluffy Angel wings during one of the backstage segments of last night’s show is a good reminder of what these gorgeous girls are striving for. Not only the large contracts that inevitably come with being the face of a company like Victoria’s Secret, but also the cachet of joining the ranks of Angel supermodels past and present like Klum and Gisele Bündchen.

The best part of last night’s show was the energy and the smiles — neither very common on high fashion runways — exhibited by the girls with wings or without. The elaborate stage and show, from the glittering gold runway to the packet of buff male dancers, was probably in and of itself worth the price of admission.

Getting the sublimely beautiful Katy Perry to headline the entertainment was a perfect fit. Katy’s bubblegum sweet, pin-up girl image worked perfectly for the show, especially during the young, fun and colorful Pink segment.

Finding actual wearable looks amidst the feathers and the glitter was harder. Not surprisingly, Victoria’s Secret seemed much more focused on image than actually showcasing wares. Not only did VS use the backstage snippets to introduce lesser known models like Lily Aldridge, Erin Heatherton and Behati Prinsloo to the general public (Lais Ribeiro, Jacquelyn Jablonski and Heloise Guerin all walked for VS for the first time this year) they also seemed intent on defining the different personalities of the Angels. To wit, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has been cast as the naughty minx while Chanel Iman was shown as the smiling ingénue.

There was something for everyone both in terms of models and themes, moving from the rock chick Tough Love and the fresh-faced Country Girls to soft Heavenly Bodies and strong, strutting Amazonian Wild Things. The only theme that really seemed more show than sexy was Game On, where the models sported everything from a sheer baseball uniform to a fuzzy soccer ball that called to mind a Popple. Isabeli Fontana’s bit with the barbell to close out the segment, however, was just the kind of cheeky fun that makes this show worth watching.

Hats off to the models and the obstacles they had to overcome to get down the glitter runway without toppling over. Karolina Kurkova, for instance, was resplendent in a fan of peacock feather wings that seemed ready to topple her at any moment, a good reminder that sometimes being an Angel is hard work.

Especially being a good one. That special kind of model that can not only look good in the new Bombshell bra, but also appear approachable enough to make an ordinary woman think that maybe, just maybe, that kind of magic is attainable. The special kind of model who with a wink and a smile — and a flutter of wings — really does make fantasies come to life.

Posted in Victoria's Secret

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