How apropos that just five days after a minor dissertation on she who wears lingerie, the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show would take place at New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory — a venue I have, until Wednesday night, always associated with the antithetical-when-considering-that-which-is-hyperliterally-sexy Marc Jacobs’ bi-annual ready-to-wear collection show.
There were certainly similarities binding together the former spectacle with the latter: Lynn Yaeger in a prominent seat for one, a wrecked ship as decor loosely reminiscent of the most recent spring show and a glittery runway for another. The differences, though, were far louder and more entertaining to note. Watching the familiar not-just-models-but-for-the-purpose-of-Wednesday-night, peacocks, that owned the runway as they do, perform not as the women we want to be but the ones men want to bang, put into perspective precisely what makes an icon, an icon.
My personal conclusion is that we aspire to be things, not people. Often what will happen is that we will assign the character traits tethered to these things to specific people, but when the Kate Moss reincarnate of your dreams is no longer a Kate Moss reincarnate — now she’s just a genetically blessed woman in lingerie, who is she in conjunction with you?
Per the show’s atmosphere, I could get past the expansive disconnect that was fashion’s zenith: Mr. Valentino sitting not on, but very close to the runway, sandwiched between Harley Viera-Newton and one Olivia Palermo vs. humanity’s creep-alert: the overpriced-ticket holding young men — ring fingers discernibly occupied — shuffling through aisles of seats like kids anticipating a trip somewhere they’d only seen through the lens of their wildest imaginations. I expected that.
I could even walk away without wondering whether Taylor Swift’s performance of “I Knew You Were Trouble” was a nod to those in the audience who hailed from the latter camp, or one to the angels dressed in a quartet of crystals, as ethereal fairies, in sports-inspired uniforms (holler at your soccer ball, Cara Delevingne), and Ashish-looking overalls stamped with smiley faces.
Because mostly, I was enraptured by my own reaction to the show. Where I thought I’d leave thinking the stereotypically inevitable: abs, what do I do about my abs? I actually left thinking the incredibly mundane: did I do my laundry yet?
My having experienced that reaction does one of two things. It either re-establishes my stance as a blaring narcissist or serves as a social note on the nature of being one of Victoria’s Secret’s angels. Why? Because in the context of that fashion show, they don’t seem human.
I don’t want to compare myself to them. I don’t care to. I don’t want to imagine what it’s like to be one of them. I’m happy with my clothed figure, thank-you-very-much. I’d rather just applaud their purported senses of self confidence and acknowledge how astutely these women, “the angels,” understand their craft as performers who have mastered the art of an interactive exhibition.
Joan Smalls in Givenchy, for example, is a very different experience to observe when held up against Joan Smalls in angel wings. And when those girls, all of them, blow kisses at the camera, you’d really think, in spite of their having absolutely no clue what kind of riffraff is on the other end of that lens, that they mean it.
But never mind them for a moment, I should also commend Victoria’s Secret, who has actually made underwear the most exciting thing on earth, more exciting than Isabel Marant for H&M, for two full days a year — once when the show takes place in New York and another when it airs nationally in December. That they have successfully marketed these women as the sexiest of their kind and turned that into a public testimony for us to revel/languish in takes a certain skill set.
See, one thing still remains, though. When it’s done, I just want to get up, go home and deal with my dirty socks.