Mar 30, 2021
So Wings, Such Underwear, Wow: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
OK, so I should let you know upfront that while I have watched way too much of America’s Next Top Model, I have never in my life seen a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. When I mentioned that to my friend Tamara, she said, “It’s actually kind of boring. It’s just women walking back and forth in straight lines in their underwear.”
And then I pointed out that I might find such a spectacle more inherently interesting than she does and she said “Oh. Yeah. Right.”
Soo, yeah, is it still objectifying women if one or more women might be enjoying it? Let’s dive into some ambiguous feminist dilemmas, shall we?
(Cautionary note added later:This show went really fast, probably because the production team knows that letting you absorb and process what you are watching for even a fraction of a second is a bad idea. I thought it would be more like a pageant, with reasonable pacing and announcements and stuff, and was in no way prepared for it. What you are about to read is me essentially trying to hang on to a moving train that keeps trying to shake me off by throwing improbable underwear in my face. If you haven’t seen the show like I had not seen the show, this is as close as I can get you to the real-time confusion, madness, and despair. I hope it is useful to you. And to you, futurenauts who are trying to figure out why our culture collapsed. P.S. Spoiler, it’s because of this show and the people who keep making it.)
Wait! It’s starting with a marching band! I’m with my people!
Oh, god, all the models have only one name. And I’ve never heard of any of them. Taylor Swift is dressed like what you thought a duchess might dress like when you were five.
WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME WATCH FALL OUT BOY, SHOW?
A blonde model starts us off in sort of bejeweled harem underpants and bra, which seems impractical.
Next up is the Sergeant Pepper Marching Band Angel of Death. Is this underwear?
The next model is a British Monty Python businessman but with garters and lingerie. Probably would have been played beautifully by Graham Chapman.
Ooh, a football player – the soccer kind.
Taylor Swift is in so many British flags. Classy.
One model is dressed like an optical illusion in a catsuit. So whichever parts of her you think are longer than the other parts, YOU ARE WRONG.
Did you think Victoria’s Secret wouldn’t take care of your foxhunting fetish? WRONG AGAIN.
Psychedelic butterfly with pink panties, WHAT IS HAPPENING?
More wings, this time on a female Macho Man leather man from the Village People.
Red catsuit with leopard boobs – that doesn’t even make sense. Cat print doesn’t match just because it’s a catsuit!
The plaid biker wings are offensive somehow. I can’t say how.
The runway is sparkly and my wrists already hurt. Cheering fans are pretending this is a real fashion show. Dear god, we’re only like 15 minutes in.
Some model talks about how she’s spent her whole life wanting to be in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show – no, wait, they all are. None of them wanted to be a paleontologist. I am NOT with my people.
Monica Mitro tells us what she looks for in casting – gorgeous and healthy, she says, as we watch a too-thin woman walk through a fake audition, turn, and get called back. The models are so happy to be there. So, so happy to be there. The models say the show changes your career and takes you to the next level and they are so lucky. Well, now we know where Tyra Banks learned to talk like that.
A Great Big World is playing. The caption comes up “Shipwrecked,” which is what I think of when I think of sexy underwear: Maximum sand in the ladybits.
A tattered ghost underwear angel comes out. Is she supposed to be sails, or torn clothing?
OK, the theme of this segment is flowy tattered things. Plus underwear.
Now there’s a model who looks like she didn’t know how to put her nightgown on and had to run to get the door and just WENT FOR IT, just threw it on diagonally and dared the UPS guy to say anything to her.
Yellow and pink underpants and a bra and blue tattered wings. How do these go together?
Wow, people in the audience really love that one corset. But they also love the one that looks like ship’s framework.
And now there are wings that look like a high school float HOLY CRAP that lady is really close to naked.
So much applause and what the FUCK is supposed to have just happened?
For the interstitial, the models talk about what they would bring to a deserted island, reminding me of a shipwreck-themed movie I saw at a party where someone had brought a crate full of dildos.
I think one model just said she would bring a fire. I can’t decide if that’s more or less practical than a crate full of dildos.
We see the looks models trying on some terrible, terrible things. When you’re the looks model, they make the outfit on you and you get poked a lot. We love Barbara the looks model since she’s such a good part of the team. She’s so enthusiastic. For the show, Barbara gets to wear her favorite outfit, the S&M Darkwing Angel.
There’s also a Trashy Red Angel. Oh, crap, I missed the theme of this segment. Love or something? There are hearts and lampposts. God, this show is like they want to ruin everything someone might fantasize about.
STOP SENDING OUT MODELS WITH GARTERS THAT AREN’T ATTACHED TO ANYTHING. IT MAKES THE MODELS LOOK LIKE THEY ARE TOO STUPID TO KNOW HOW CLOTHES WORK.
A saloon girl just went down, and now it’s Princess Naughtymusic.
There goes a turquoise angel with plague wings!
This woman is wearing basically nothing except for wings, garters, and the Eiffel Tower on her head. It’s super porny. I’m not making a joke about an odd headpiece. She has the freaking Eiffel Tower on her head.
Then we see Paris for the shoot of the holiday Victoria’s Secret commercial. The model says, “It’s such a different way to see us.” What, in underwear? The models slept all day then shot in Paris in their underwear all night. Who among us has not?
God, this is awful.
Oh, is this the commercial we just saw being shot? It’s slow-motion models in Paris in their underwear. Jesus, you can see a lot of sinew. Has anyone explained to ANYONE in the modeling industry that voluptuous is a thing too? Kind of an enjoyable thing to look at? Or, you know, even somewhere between voluptuous and bone ends showing?
Oh, apparently big diapery panties are a thing again too. STOP THAT.
The other models open the next segment by praising Lais, and then we hear about the tragedy of her falling and breaking her ankle. Oh, man. The way they talk about it makes me wonder what hideous heels they were making her wear. The model who took her place in the show felt bad.
But now Lais is back! A story of triumph! And she is OPENING the Birds of Paradise section! Everyone is rooting for Lais!
Another woman is more of a pheasant, but whatever.
Purple feathers! Jewels! Sparkly underwear!
Oh, crap the peacock (peahen?) is a mess of design. Nothing goes with anything. Sorry, peahen!
And the kookaburra is good but the toucan is evil. I may not understand fashion, but I can tell you that.
WHY NO BEAKS ON THESE WOMEN?
Oh, god, the band guy yells at us to make some noise, my least favorite thing. Either we, the audience, are enjoying something to such a degree that we are spontaneously moved to make some noise, or we are not, in which case you must suck it up and either rock harder or get used to the comparative silence. You do not get to demand fake enthusiasm.
And band guys, settle down and stop trying so hard in general. Dudes, if you are playing this fake TV fashion show for a major corporation, you ARE NOT PUNK.
Did we just see a woman with an inflatable heart on her butt backstage? I think we did. And a Snowflake Woman. I guess they’re doing the “Girl For All Seasons” Number from Grease II. I hope “Cool Rider” is in there too.
The Victoria’s Secret Only One Way to Be Sexy Fashion Show continues! All these bodies are the same.
Oh, for chrissakes, the models are being emoticons.
“I Wanna Go Crazy” is playing and the models are showing off their extremely restrained, demure way of being all “crazy.” It’s a little slice of heartbreak. DON’T STOP BEING PRETTY, GIRLS. NEVER, EVER STOP FOR EVEN A MOMENT OR YOU WON’T GET ANY LOVE.
Someone says the models are “literally the rock stars of social media.” Which is true, because rock stars are literally the chartered accountants of social media.
You will be shocked to hear that the models post a lot of photos to social media. And they all like to imply that they have maybe posted – Oops! – naughty photos because they want followers oh god I hate everything.
Standby for the Pink models! Oh, fuck you, Victoria’s Secret, for making the stupider girls think pink is a personal creed.
Neon Jungle is playing and seizure lights are going and hey, they have full-clothing outfits on and I like them.
The woman with a heart on her butt is walking and she hates not having wings so much, so much. What did she do to deserve this?
Jesus, the next woman looks like teenage Scottish vandals dressed her.
Next woman has a sparkly hoodie and a baseball cap! This segment is for the young people! Please keep buying overpriced underwear and sweat pants with “PINK” on the butt, young people! It will always be a good idea.
HOLY SHIT A SMILEY FACE CATSUIT MAKE IT GO AWAY.
One woman has the letter G on her crotch as part of the “OMG” she has to wear down her front. Public service announcement: That is NOT THE G-SPOT, FELLAS.
That was the most awful thing I have ever seen. Ever. And I grew up in hunting country and have seen turkeys being gutted.
This whole thing is seizure-inducing. All the lights and the quick cuts and the crotch shots and the back-and-forth. TRUST US TO BE ABLE TO OGLE PEOPLE ON OUR OWN. Really, we can do this. Is there really a population of people who can’t do this without coaching and “Here’s where your eyeballs should go! Look, these are the generally acknowledged sexy parts of a lady! Do not try to enjoy other parts, or to enjoy the lady as a whole! JUST THESE PARTS, YOU DUMB GOONBALL.”
A man with a fake eyepatch tells us that what it takes to be an Angel is everything you’ve got. We’re told that the models train like professional athletes and work for the bodies they want. Somehow we skip over the part about swallowing juice-soaked cotton balls for lunch.
Our workout model likes to sweat and keep moving.
And Victoria’s Secret would like you to know that models look like that because they are healthy, healthy, healthy and very self-driven and never, ever get pressured to engage in unhealthy eating habits by their agents or managers or photographers or casting people or dickhead advertising executives.
OOH, the VERY FLOOFIEST ANGEL IS HERE. She’s wearing a bolero jacket with her wings and bra. I regret so much of my life now; I will never be the floofiest angel in heaven.
Now some ice boobs and – Brr! – icicle panties! NO, WAIT! NOT EVEN PANTIES, REALLY, JUST ICICLES. That might be what happens to you if you don’t at least take a shot at being good enough to be the Floofiest angel.
Now it’s the Backwards Angel whose wings are in front, but we treat her like she’s normal.
Now Taylor is holding hands with Peacock Snowbutt Lady, in a moving show of Pretty Women Not Hating Each Other.
And now a woman in a BEYOOTIFUL furry parka that is not warm because it is just the furry hood and wrists and then the rest is transparent. Impractical! But so lovely.
Now a woman is just cold throwing around a polar bear pelt like she didn’t murder it with her own teeth. These models have a dark side, and they need protein.
OH GOD, ARE WE DONE? STOP YELLING AT THE MODELS, BACKSTAGE GUY. Oh, he’s making them line up for the last weird fashion show part where the models walk out again and clap back at you.
And now yes, we are done, and the models are stomping and holding hands and JESUS CHRIST GET DRESSED, YOUR BUTTS RE HANGING OUT. Doesn’t that get weird? There has to be a point where they realize their butts are hanging out and now it’s all weird.
I bet the other cool models, the England and Snow and Bird and Shipwreck and Love models, make fun of the poor Pink girls. They look awful.
Now the models all dance! Dance for the sheer joy of underpants and fake fashion!
Now they all take a 2013 picture together. For HISTORY.
What the FUCK was that? It was entertainment for people who will not take their Adderall and do not know what sexy is on their own. You make me sad, No-focus-and-don’t-know-what-sexy-is people. Assuming you actually exist outside the category of “entertainment executive.”
Their last shot is a sign that says “Done + Dusted,” which is a Britishism that was probably a great inside joke to the production team, but is just more random bullshit from here.
Which means it was the perfect way to end this.