Luxury lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret celebrated its 22nd show with a bash in Shanghai, China, on Sunday.
But the lingerie giant hasn’t always been the multi-million budget powerhouse it is today. In fact, the first Victoria’s Secret was a rather modest affair in 1995 in New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Now known for glitzy “fantasy bras” and oversized angel wings, the 1995 Angels sashayed their way down the runway wearing demure silky slips with handbags and cardigans as their accessories.
And let’s not forget the iconic models who were the faces – and bodies – of the brand through the years. From Veronica Webb to South Africa’s own Candice Swanepoel, Victoria’s Secret has helped various models’ careers, with most bagging high-fashion campaigns and magazine covers – and one or two even getting their own TV talk show.
More than two decades later, as many as 6,6 million eager viewers tune in to watch the breath-taking models grace the legendary Victoria’s Secret runway, the Insider reports.
We’ve put together some of the best Victoria’s Secrets pics over the years.
Despite its humble beginnings at the Plaza Hotel, the very first Victoria’s Secret show attracted the biggest modelling names in the industry at the time. Stephanie Seymour and Veronica Webb – the first African-American to sign with cosmetics giant Revlon – made their way down the runway in slinky slips.
One year on and the already popular fashion show had better lighting and focused mainly on lingerie. This was also the year supermodels Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell made their debut in the show, which had a “baby doll” theme.
By 1998 the show was decidedly more glamorous, with models like Heidi Klum donning the now famous wings for the first time.
In 1999 the lingerie was almost secondary to the glammed-up wings. Many showed up just to see these wings worn by superstar models like Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and Giselle Bündchen.
Back in the year 2000, the highly anticipated show was held at the popular Cannes Film Festival to support the Cinema Against AIDS gala. The show raised more than $3,5 million (then about R26,6 million) for this charity.
In 2003 the brand recognised an elite group of models, including Adriana Lima, Gisele Bündchen and Heidi Klum.
Who could forget the time Seal serenaded (now ex) wife Heidi Klum on stage while she donned the biggest wings the show had ever seen. This was the year supermodel Tyra left the show to start her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show.
Once again Heidi Klum, probably the most famous Angel of all time, slayed the runway in the snowflake-themed show. She was joined by a new squad of Victoria’s Secret Angels.
The supermodels donned colourful peacock-feather wings and oversized props in what was labelled a memorable show by fashion gurus.
In 2011 rapper Kanye West took to the stage while the beautiful models strutted their stuff down the superhero-themed runway.
By 2012 a new batch of models – including Alessandro Ambrosio and Candice Swanepoel – graced the runway, while songstress Rihanna performed. Of the “old” squad, Adriana Lima was amongst those still there.
In 2014 the first “double fantasy” bra was introduced. Adriana Lima and Alessandro Ambrosio each got to don the bra’s that were worth $2 million (then about R23,2 million) – each.
The show excitingly featured fashion’s new generation of “It” girls, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
Last year the incredible show was held in Paris, France, and 18 of the 51 models were all new to the runway.
This year 56 models strutted their stuff in the spectacular runway show at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China.