If a brand invests in a $10 million bra, they will expect people to turn up to see it. And what better way to advertise it than to broadcast it across 180 countries? Victoria's Secret's 19th annual lingerie runway event is expensive, glamorous and makes for excellent brand promotion.
The fashion show had humble beginnings. It's been 18 years since a regular runway at NYC's Plaza Hotel held its first Victoria's Secrets fashion show. On a budget of around $120,000, the August 1995 show was an in-house affair, kept within the fashion community.
Four years later in 1999, the brand decided to go public with a rather spotty webcast. However, they have never looked back since and have reached out to wider audiences through CBS. Today, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is the biggest show of its kind with six themes, 36 models, 69 looks and a full-blown multimedia experience for its viewers at the 2013 event.
Over the years the show has become a strong medium of advertising, with celebrity faces like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and more recently, Adriana Lima and others drawing viewers from across the world. Some of the top entertainers get their act on in between lingerie exhibitions. There's no other network show that focuses on a single brand in an hour's program. With the millions upon millions of dollars invested in production (and the million on broadcast), it is possibly one of the most extravagant commercials a brand ever made.
The investments poured into the latest production of 2013 has hired 26 makeup artists, 22 hair stylists, 8 manicurists among other backstage staff. Twenty-eight pairs of the show's elaborate and trademark wings have been designed and will be revealed at the broadcast. Victoria's Angels (the brand's contracted models) make around $5 million a year. Top models like Cara Delevingne can make as much as $100,000 for one catwalk appearance.
No surprises then that the lingerie event is one of the most expensive of its kind. Here's a look at the 10 most expensive Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows Ever put up for an idea of just how much people love to indulge in this fantasy like world. Note that the production costs as listed below do not include the costs of creating the Fantasy Bra for each year.
10 2000 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $9-$10 Million
The first webcast of the fashion show may not have been easy watch because of crashing servers at a time when the internet was in its infancy. However, millions of viewers logged on to watch the show that was live at Cannes. Though it was not included on the runway, the centerpiece of the show was a $15 million red satin and Thai ruby Fantasy Bra designed for Gisele Bundchen. This has been the most high-valued Fantasy Bra to date.
9 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $10 Million
The show had been canceled in 2004 due to the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl XXXVIII. However, it was back in 2005 with 8.9 million viewers at the Lexington Avenue Armory in NYC. This was Tyra Banks' final show. It was also the show known for the $12.5 million Sexy Splendor Fantasy Bra sported by Gisele Bundchen. This was Bundchen's 2nd Fantasy Bra. Performers that year included Ricky Martin, Seal and Chris Botti.
8 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $10 Million
In 2006 the brand's new label PINK made its runway debut. Production costs paid for performers like Justin Timberlake who performed his very relevant number 'Sexy Back' as Gisele Bundchen walked her final walk. The show that year drew 6.8 million viewers, which was an all-time low since broadcast had begun.
7 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $10 Million
The 2007 show was held at the Kodak Theater in LA and featured the $4.5 million Holiday Fantasy Bra worn by Selita Ebanks. Top entertainers that year included the Spice Girls, Seal, will.i.am and Heidi Klum. The show drew 7.4 million viewers.
6 2008 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $10 Million
The event moved to Miami's opulent Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in 2008. Hit singer Usher had kicked off the show and 35 models including Adriana Lima and Heidi Klum strutted their stuff. Lima wore a $5 million Fantasy Miracle Bra called the Black Diamond, designed by Martin Katz. Celebrities that showed up included Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Michelle Trachtenberg, P. Diddy and Russell Simmons.
5 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $10 Million
In 2009, 8.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the Black Eyed Peas entertain while Marisa Miller strutted the runway in the $3 million Harlequin Fantasy Bra. The show that year also featured a contest in search of a new 'runway angel' (Kylie Bisutti won the honor in the end).
4 2010 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $12 Million
The fashion show in 2010 drew 9 million viewers of CBS, up from the 6.8 million in 2006, besides the guests at the Lexington Avenue Armory in NYC. The $2 million Damiani Fantasy Bra was a highlight, worn by Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima. High profile performers Akon and Katy Perry added extra bling. The brand managed to turn its $12 million investment into a whopping $5.5 billion net sale the following year with its hour-long broadcast.
3 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $12 Million
The 2011 show cost about $12 million to produce, a chunk of the money being spent on the 36 top Victoria's Secret models, performers and artists. The Fantasy Treasure Bra flaunted by Miranda Kerr on the runway cost only $2.5 million - not nearly as much as some of the other Fantasy Bras. However, 10.30 million viewers tuned in to watch (some of the highest numbers for the show), and chart-topping performers like Nicki Minaj, Jay Z and Kanye West rocked the stage.
2 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: $12 Million
Justin Bieber rocked the entertainers stage in 2012, along with Rihanna and Bruno Mars. The Floral Fantasy bra that Brazilian beauty Alessandra Ambrosio wore was worth $2.5 million. Around 9.48 million viewers tuned in to watch the show from its NYC venue at the Lexington Avenue Armory.
1 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Over $13 Million
While it hasn't been broadcast yet, the 2013 show has already created quite a buzz across the world and the 180 countries where it will be shown. For this year's show, South African model Candice Swanepoel will wear a $10 million bejeweled bra nicknamed the 'Royal Fantasy Bra'. Designed by Swiss luxury jeweler Mouawad, it is the priciest Fantasy Bra since 2005. Forbes has listed Swanepoel as one of the highest paid models today. Sassy British model Cara Delevigne is also to watch out for at the show to be aired December 10.
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