You know about it, I know about it, everybody knows about the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
I’m not certain it can be called a fashion show at this point, it’s more like a production? A blockbuster? In comparison to normal fashion shows, it’s a hundred times different. For starters, musicians perform on the stage and the venue seats thousands of spectators. Really, it’s a sort of sports event, but for lingerie that teens buy in droves at the mall.
But all of that hardly matters when the widely-buzzed about and highly marketed VS Fashion Show rolls around. There are viewing parties and social media conversations. Have you ever seen that kind of conversation for NYFW? PFW?
On my campus there was a viewing party at a local Buffalo Wild Wings and it made me laugh when I thought about livestreaming PFW at a sports bar with a bucket of wings in front of every viewer. Quelle classe!
I began to wonder, seeing the buzz come in, who was really watching the show? For if the viewers were fashion connoisseurs, up on the latest trends and just as excited for Chanel’s pre-fall collection the day after, then wouldn’t it be the same excitement for any other kind of show?
But no, the men are watching too. Without a doubt there are men involved in the typical fashion cycles, but those who don’t pay attention otherwise are rapt and wide-eyed, watching Adriana Lima strut down the VS runway. Women seem to care a significant amount, as would be expected, but again these aren’t the same demographics for fashion’s usual audience.
Why would it be? This is the superbowl of fashion shows.
It has the kind of showmanship of the Superbowl as well, that propels into the mainstream, not to mention that the commodity itself is one that is far more accessible than designer goods. When it’s presented with the same kind of authority and luxury, well, the sales are nearly confirmed on the spot.
WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?
According to quantitative research done on the 2013 VS Fashion Show, men and women both speak on the physical aspects of the models. The difference being that the women spoke on the model’s and their feelings towards them while the men noted both the unrealistic body types on the runway as well as the “hottest victoria’s secret models” as shown by the conversational breakdown diagrams.
Outside of those differences, much was the same for men and women who seemed to watch more for the show and the models themselves than for the underwear being shown.
That’s the point and it’s the genius of the event as well—sell the look, the lifestyle, and the excitement of the brand and you’ve sold the underwear.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
A lot. Much more than your average fashion show that prices in at least 1 million dollars. The VS Fashion has been projected to cost 20 million in 2014 at London. That’s more than a pretty penny, it’s a serious effort to create conversation and sales around this now annual event.
As for the bras themselves, the versions on the runways are not available on the website (they’re reported to be worth millions after all) while the core basics of the collection shown are available. What’s seen on the catwalk is usually bedazzled with precious stones, for example in 2015 Lily Aldridge wore the “Fireworks Fantasy Bra” which cost around 2 million dollars, covered with “over 6,500 precious gems, including diamonds, blue topaz, yellow sapphires and pink quartz, all set in 18-karat gold.”
Such extravagances are fantastic for showbiz, but not much for selling in stores to middle-class customers. It’s just further evidence that this show is hardly about the underwear itself, but about the lifestyle being shown, what kind of woman you’ll be when you buy a bra or some underwear.
I ALREADY KNEW IT WASN’T ABOUT THE UNDIES
Of course you did. If you’re reading this as a man, perhaps you enjoy watching for the women or for your favorite models or maybe because you love Lady Gaga. As a woman, perhaps you follow Alessandro Ambrosia religiously among the other social media stars featured. It’s on par with the award show crowds; the dresses, the performances, the glitz, and the glamour.
It really is the perfect marketing move. Maybe Victoria’s Secret is a book full of ways to draw in the largest crowd of coed viewers possible for average to low quality lingerie.
But it really is one hell of a show.