An emotional Adriana Lima bowed her head in thanks and crossed her hands over her heart as she made her 18th and final runway walk in the annual holiday Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, her long white feather “angel wings” gently blowing as the crowd cheered.
A tribute video played during taping of the extravaganza, declaring Lima “the greatest angel of all time” while Fatboy Slim’s Praise You played.
The show will be broadcast on December 2 on ABC and in 190 countries around the world.
Swedish model Elsa Hosk sported the Fantasy Bra, an extravagant piece featuring more than 2,100 diamonds.
It’s designed exclusively for the lingerie brand by Atelier Swarovski and allegedly worth US$1 million.
Chinese model Liu Wen, who debuted on Victoria’s Secret runway in 2009 as the first Chinese angel, was once again invited to walk the show without casting. Min Xi, the angel that fell on last year’s runway in Shanghai, returned to the catwalk donning a tropical one-piece.
Another supermodel, 29-year-old Sui He, posed on the runway in a sexy black ensemble with golden wings.
This year’s extravaganza saw pluralism and diversity of models from different races and countries. Kelsey Merritt joined the style crusade as the first Filipino model strutting down the runway. It also saw Mélie Tiacoh become the first Ivorian wonder girl taking part in the American label’s fashion show. Canadian fashion model Winnie Harlow created buzz as the first model with the skin condition vitiligo to walk the show.
The Strokes, Shawn Mendes, The Chainsmokers, Rita Ora, Bebe Rexha, Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey performed on the runway at a downtown Manhattan venue.
Ora briefly walked hand in hand with one of the angels during her performance and a stage hand later fetched a piece of her gold jewellery that fell on the runway. Mendes was dressed in black and slung his acoustic guitar on his back as he sang, while Gigi Hadid managed a huge parachute-like set of floral wings that caught the air like a massive windsock.
Kendall Jenner took to the runway in a black and silver bikini look and a set of stiff black feathers adorned with glitzy stars.
For another round on the catwalk, she donned a tiny plaid kilt skirt with a mismatched plaid train and bra.
Backstage before the show, the 37-year-old Lima, a mother of two, and other models lounged in short black robes bedazzled with gold stars. They spoke to journalists while sitting at make-up stations and lounging on couches.
“I thought over the years I would get more relaxed,” the blue-eyed Brazilian beauty said as stylists worked on her long dark hair. “No, I still get nervous, just like at my first Victoria’s Secret show.”
Another angel mom, 30-year-old Namibian blonde Behati Prinsloo, smiled wide as she primped backstage. Prinsloo, who is married to American singer Adam Levine, has been an angel since 2009 but this was her return to the show after two years off, just eight months after the birth of their second daughter.
“It’s such an honour to just be part of it yet again after having kids,” she said.
“It made me work a little harder. It made me appreciate my body so much, what it can do, create life and then, honestly, get back and do this.”