PARIS – The laciest, if not raciest, catwalk event of the year – aka, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show – was taking place in Paris on Wednesday night. Among the anticipated highlights: performances by Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars, as well as a $3 million Fantasy bra modelled by Jasmine Tookes. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look:
The show, in the huge steel-and-glass atrium of Paris’ Grand Palais, opened with a string orchestra playing softly from inside a huge Arc de Triomphe structure.
As the show began, red neon lights filled the catwalk and the calm was broken by bold rock music and cheering crowds.
Swedish model Elsa Hosk strutted out in a cropped bustier, enveloped in a three-dimensional red Chinese dragon; Kendall Jenner – in blood red – wore thigh-high boots, a long-line plunging bra and suede angel wing and Gigi Hadid looked like she would take off in flight, sporting a cape with an Aztec-pattern that billowed as she walked.
Lady Gaga gave a rousing performance of “Million Reasons,” kissing Hadid’s mother, reality TV star Yolanda Hadid, in her front row seat as she ended her performance. (Before the show, Gaga treated her Instagram followers to a photo of herself in silver Victoria’s Secret underwear).
Bruno Mars, using the catwalk as his stage, had guests jumping up and down in a funky performance of “24K Magic.”
$3 MILLION FANTASY BRA
The Victoria’s Secret Fantasy bra the 25-year-old Tookes was selected to wear is considered the piece de resistance of the brand’s runway display.
The bra, glimmering with thousands of gemstones, was presented like crown jewels ahead of the show. An incredible work of art, it was designed by Eddie Borgo and hand-crafted over 700 hours with gems from jeweler AWMouzannar.
“It is so beautiful. It’s covered in white diamonds and emeralds and it has about 9,000 gemstones. It cost $3 million – so stunning,” gushed Tookes backstage while she was having her hair done.
Tookes said the garment was constructed on a mould of her upper body, literally made to measure.
While the bra may be perfect for the runway presentation, Tookes joked she probably wouldn’t want to go for a jog in it, given its weight.
“It’s very heavy; it weighs more than 450 karats. It weighs down on my shoulders a little bit, but it’s so worth it,” she said, cheekily adding: “I might jog out of this show with it though.”
EVEN VICTORIA’S SECRET MODELS GET NERVOUS
Brazilian beauty Lais Ribeiro physically jumped when a loudspeaker bellowed there was just one hour until show time.
“Butterflies just came stronger in my stomach. I’m getting very, very excited,” Ribeiro, 26, told The Associated Press.
WATCH: Top 5 Victoria’s Secret Angels
Ribeiro knows more than most about the hidden dangers in a show such as this, where models in towering heels can injure themselves. She hurt her foot as a Victoria’s Secret Angel three years ago.
“What am I scared of? I twisted my ankle and kind of broke my foot in the rehearsal three years ago. So I’m always scared of the high heels (that might make) me miss this amazing show,” she said.
Hours before Wednesday’s show began, hundreds of meters in the area around Paris’ Grand Palais and the Champs Elysees avenue were in near lock-down, barricaded with passing tourists and fashionistas alike getting frisked.
Bomb squad dogs sniffed out every single bag that entered the Grand Palais where the fashion show took place.
Paris remains in a state of emergency following last November’s Paris attacks at a concert hall and various spots around the capital.
CITY OF ANGELS
The Angels, as Victoria’s Secret top models are known, have taken Paris – and their Instagram accounts – by storm since flying into the City of Light on Sunday night.
Led by Alessandra Ambrosio, the troupe posed for photos outside the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday morning as gob-smacked tourists stopped to take in the incredible views, which included the monument.
Josephine Skriver, Adriana Lima, Lily Donaldson, Elsa Hosk, Lily Aldridge and Jasmine Tookes wore assorted Angels T-shirts and skinny, figure-hugging black jeans.
But the fun continued online, with Lima posting a from-behind shot of her and Martha Hunt wearing thigh-high boots during the show’s preparations.
Mere mortals may use a face mask ahead of a glamorous night out – but these are Angels, and terrestrial rules don’t apply.
Trending online were photos of some of the models using 24-karat gold sheet masks to prepare for the 2016 show.