The History of the Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra

The 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is right around the corner and with it comes the Fantasy Bra.  An exquisite piece of craftsmanship which takes all year to design, make and fit to the chosen model.

A firm fixture in the Fashion Calendar, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show wasn’t always quite so prominent.  Starting life as a trade show in the 90’s shown right before Valentine’s Day, back them the show was a very different story to the huge feathered and rhinestone studded production of today.

Every year since 1996, one lucky VS Angel is selected to showcase the multi million dollar Fantasy Bra; now the centrepiece of the show and the equivalent of NASA’s launch pad for the Angel chosen.  What you might not know is that between 1996 and 2000, the Fantasy Bra was a catalogue only item as it was deemed too expensive to be worn on the runway (none have ever been sold).

From the first ever show held at The Plaza Hotel in New York in 1995 to 2016, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is probably the best example of clever marketing that you’ll ever see in the fashion world.  From the pre-show #TrainLikeAnAngel campaign that flogs the brand’s sportswear line, to the YouTube broadcast castings and subsequent fittings, the whole thing is a well oiled machine masterminded by Ed Razek, with a little pre-show help from Russell James.  James photographed each of the Angels nude for a $250 book to accompany the show.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show held at Earl’s Court in London and everything, and I mean everything is a slick operation.  It’s a world created entirely for the viewer.  Everything you witness as a member of the press is created for just that purpose and the Angels are more than willing to perform.  it’s a fascinating thing to watch and the duties of an Angel are so much more than just walking the runway, I could dedicate an entire post to the production of the show but this is about the Fantasy Bra.

So Voyeurs, whilst we wait for the 2016 VSFS, which will surely be bigger and better than anything before it, here’s a rundown of every Fantasy Bra that’s ever been shown by Victorias Secret.  You’re welcome….

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1996 – The first Fantasy Bra was worn by Claudia Schiffer and unveiled in print on the cover of the Valentine’s catalogue.  With 100 carats of diamonds it was given the title ‘The Million Dollar Miracle Bra’.

1997 – Don’t be fooled by how understated this Fantasy Bra appears.  Costing a cool $3 million, the bra was worn by Tyra Banks and featured a 42 carat pear cut diamond at the very centre.

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1998 – The VS creative team took things up a notch with this $5 million ‘Dream Angel’ Fantasy Bra worn by Daniela Pestova.  Featuring a whopping 330 carats of pear and marquise cut diamonds, set amongst 77 carats of marquise cut rubies and mouldable platinum.

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1999 – The year that the Fantasy Bra became a ‘costume’ and people sat up and took notice.  Very visibly different to anything else in the catalogue, the ‘Millennium Bra’ was worn by Heidi Klum and with over 4000 diamonds and sapphires, the price tag was a cool $10 million.

2000 – This $15 million ‘Red Hot’ Fantasy Bra set a Guiness World Record for Most Expensive Piece of Lingerie (until 2006).  Encrusted with over 300 Thai Rubies the Red Hot Fantasy Bra, worn by Gisele, gave Victoria’s Secret the idea to start including the Fantasy Bra in the annual show.

2001 – Heidi Klum was the first Angel to walk the runway in a Fantasy Bra.  The ‘Heavenly Star’ demi bra was made up of pink sapphires with a 90 carat emerald cut diamond in the centre.  At $12.5 million you’d think they could have made one to fit…

2002 – The ‘Star of Victoria’ Fantasy Bra was created to give the look of an English country rose garden, studded with rubies and emeralds galore, the bra cost a whopping $10 million and was worn by rising star (at the time) Karolina Kurkova.

2003 – Wearing her third fantasy Bra, Heidi Klum took to the runway in the (slightly better fitting) ‘Very Sexy’ Fantasy Bra costing $11 million and featuring the second largest diamond in the world at 70 carats.

2004 – The £10 million ‘Heavenly 70’ Fantasy Bra was worn by Tyra Banks and was for print only as the off schedule Angel’s Across America show took place that year.  Featuring  diamonds set in white gold with an awesome 70 carat pear cut diamond at its centre.

2005 – Gisele took on the ‘Sexy Splendour’ Fantasy Bra and this show really embraced themes, shaping the show as we know it now, with a 101 fancy-cut swing diamond, the bra was valued at $12.5 million.

2006 – Now on to her second Fantasy Bra, Karolina Kurkova wore the $6.5 million ‘Hearts On Fire’ Fantasy bra featuring over 2000 single diamonds and a huge 10 carat stone as the centrepiece.

2007 – The ‘Holiday’ Fantasy Bra was worn by Selita Ebanks and was the first year that the costume featured a garter, barrette & cuff as part of the ensemble.  Encrusted in diamonds, yellow sapphires, rubies and emeralds, the bra was the first to embrace the Holiday season.

2008 – Starting to look familiar Voyeurs? Introducing Adriana Lima as the Angel she was meant to be.  Wearing the $5 million ‘Black Diamond’ Fantasy bra, Lima took centre stage for the first time and the world sat up and took notice.  With over 1500 carats in this fantasy Bra, this shaped the show as we know it.

2009 – The $3 million ‘Harlequin’ Fantasy Bra was worn by Marisa Miller and was made up of 2355 diamonds with a 16-carat heart shaped diamond pendant centrepiece.

2010 – The ‘Bombshell’ Fantasy Bra was Adriana Lima’s second outing wearing the coveted showstopper.  With 60 carats of white diamonds as well as blue topaz and sapphires, the bra was valued at $2 million and cemented Lima at the top of her game.

2011 – The ‘Fantasy Treasure’ Bra was worn by Miranda Kerr and incorporated Victoria’s Secret’s famous ‘wings’ or in this case, a piece fashioned to resemble an oyster shell.  with 3379 stones including yellow and colourless diamonds to the tune of of 142 carats, citrines, pearls and aquamarines, the bra was valued at $2.5 million and was finished with a pearl centrepiece.

2012 – Alessandra Ambrosio wore the $2.5 million ‘Floral Fantasy’ Bra, moving towards the full VSFS costume we’re used to seeing today the style featured floral wings and panniers secured with a diamond chain belt, and over 5000 gems.  Amethysts, rubies, sapphires, tsavorites and pink, yellow and white diamonds made up the intricate floral design and just like Adriana Lima, Ambrosio became a household name.

2013 – The ‘Royal’ Fantasy Bra was a sight to behold, worn by Candice Swanepoel, the bra and belt topped out at $10 million and featured over 4200 gem stones including diamonds, rubies and yellow sapphires with a 52 carat pear shaped ruby swinging from the centre.  Hand set in 18 karat gold, the ‘Royal’ saw the Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra elevated to the Big Leagues.

2014  For the first time ever, Victoria’s Secret made two Fantasy Bras for the UK show named the ‘Dream Angels’ fantasy bras.  Worn by Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio, it was widely speculated that the girls were set to retire after the London show and that this would be their parting gift – this was not the case.  valued at $2 million each, the ensembles were dripping in 16000 blue sapphires, diamonds and rubies set in 18 karat gold.  I was lucky enough to be at this show and got within touching distance of both of these backstage!

2015  The modestly priced $2 million ‘Firework’ Fantasy bra was worn by Lily Aldridge and is one of the tamest to be seen in recent years.  It left fans of the VS Fashion Show underwhelmed and was criticised on social media.  Made up of white diamonds, blue topaz, yellow sapphires and pink quartz and set in 18 karat gold, the wings and matching panniers were created to replicate the effect of fireworks on July 4th.

2016  This year marks the 20th anniversary of the VS Fantasy Bra and the brand wanted to bring something new.  After suffering a 35% drop in ratings in 2015 which has been hurtful to the brand, 25 year old Jasmine Tookes was selected to wear the ‘Bright Night’ Fantasy bra.  Made up of 9000 gems and 27000 Swarovski crystals set in 18 karat gold and valued at $3 million, the bra is a step away from the Fantasy Bra’s shown in recent years – a conscious decision for the brand.  Unretouched pictures of Tookes’ Fantasy Bra shoot were also leaked online – rumoured to be a ploy by the brand itself.

“The energy is going to be amazing in Paris, everyone is so excited—it’s going to be one of the best VS shows yet!”  Jasmine Tookes, VS Angel

So there you have it Voyeurs, your definitive guide to the Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra.  All that’s left now is for you to sit tight and wait for the 2016 Paris show to be screened on TV.  With Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd confirmed to perform at this year’s show it looks like it’s set to be a doozie….

Pixie xo

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