Brits and Boobs: Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2013
It’s been a taxing day, what with finding the perfect Christmas tree and carting it home tied to the roof of the car while a faint grinding sound reminded me that having the brakes looked at was that very important thing I was supposed to do this morning. We made it home, nevertheless, and Scott immediately set off to make Palm Springs a less wrinkle-y place while I stayed behind in Hollywood to transform said tree into a veritable wonder of Chinese Christmas kitsch.
This may sound odd at first because, as you know, they don’t even fucking celebrate Christmas in China, but if you stock up on various good luck charms and funerary offerings in the traditional lucky colors of red and gold that you find all over Chinatown and pile them onto a green tree, you’ll have a blast of Christmas cheer that is a little off, kind of like me. I love having people over when we have the tree decorated like this because the typical reaction runs something like, “Gosh, what a beautiful tree, you gu– holy shit, is that a dragon?”
Something else that was a little off today was the revelation that Scott Sternberg of L.A. label Band of Outsiders spilled his real, actual feelings about the fashion industry to Spanish interiors magazine Apartamento. When I saw his take on how much focus there is on the hype of the shows that primarily cater to stylists who may or may not photograph the stuff and so much overproduction of everything that no one is buying, it hit me that I’ve been feeling the same way for a long time but was just too caught up in the insane season-after-season-after-season cycle to be able to articulate it. I routinely have to explain to clients about the timing that requires they buy their outerwear when it’s blistering hot out and their swimwear when it’s freezing, but it’s never sat well with me. Sternberg went one better: “The fashion industry is retarded. It doesn’t make sense. There is too much product out there and when you’re a wholesale business it’s really impossible to resolve. You can’t, because if you want to be in a store like Barney’s, you can’t just deliver twice a year. You can’t just have two runway shows.”
Case in point was Tuesday’s extravagant inter-season Chanel ho-down/runway thing in Dallas, complete with a drive-in theatre that had La Lagerfeld, La Wintour and La Talley all being photographed in a convertible as they watched a Chanel “movie.” Many of my friends were dealing with this inhospitably icy weather in Texas but I, myself, did not attend and from the looks of Kathy Horyn’s Twitter feed, I’m glad I didn’t. Texas does things big and when it’s a mess it’s going to be a big mess.
Somewhat more relevant was the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that aired the same day. And I’m not being sarcastic, for a change. Though I once thought of the VS show as a distracting ploy to find Adam Levine a new girlfriend that grew into a silly grandstand fashion joke to entertain the unwashed masses, I now see it as far more significant that this Chanel silliness in Texas. I hate to admit it but I’m a bit of a snob about art and creativity (and grammar on social media, so make sure you get the difference between “your” and “you’re”), but exponentially more people watched and were touched by the Victoria’s Secret show on CBS than by any number of editors who attended or YouTube users pulling up the “Lagerfeld Does Dallas” thing that just played out, even if they did get Anna and André Leon being feted and performing like prized puppies. And exponentially more people will walk into a Victoria’s Secret shop this holiday season and buy something, so that’s some sort of clue.
And now for the Victoria’s Secret show recap:
The band Fall Out Boy opened the show as Candice Swanepoel walked in a red and gold bikini creation much like our Christmas tree followed by some verrry British kinds of creations—soccer gear, bowler hats, riding coats—and Taylor Swift pulled it together (because she’s, like, British or something?) by coming out in a crazy outfit with big Union Jacks all over it. Finally, the punk-inspired ensembles and some Swinging Sixties stuff sealed the deal. If that mash-up had happened in Milan, the press would have killed them, by the way.
The second section was entitled “Shipwrecked” and featured ripped and distressed layers over the requisite bras and panties. Colors were pale yellows, pinks and blues. I think you could pull this one together at home. “Parisian Nights” followed with some impressive graphics of the Place Vendôme, which was funny because, though there were girls tramping around in their underwear when I lived in Paris, they definitely were not in the 1st arrondissement. No, these were definitely ensembles more suited to place Pigalle but the lingerie that formed the basis could be anywhere, anytime.
The “Birds of Paradise” bit seemed very Brazilian Carnivale and you’d hope that everyone sexing it up at carnival would have as low body fat ratio but good luck with that. Fall Out Boy inexplicably provided the live soundtrack for this, too. Then 90s-style girl band Neon Jungle took over for a very 1990s-style VS Pink segment that incorporated lots of the hip-hop, baseball cap and color blocking of that era—over sexy lingerie, of course. Taylor Swift came out again to sing for the “Snow Angels” segment of white feathers, snow effects and crystals and that’s a good place for a lingerie line to end.
All in all, this Victoria’s Secret endeavor will most likely end up a commercial success. I wonder what will happen with the Chanel/Dallas dust up, no matter what Wintour says.
I leave you with this: If someone on stage tells you to “make some noise,” you have my permission to shout, “You have the microphone; YOU make some fucking noise!”
Great article James!
StaciePanesisKhouri Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it!