After much anticipation, the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show landed back in New York City this evening at Pier 94. The globally broadcasted show returned to its hometown with Angels Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel, Elsa Hosk, Jasmine Tookes, Josephine Skriver, Lais Ribeiro, Martha Hunt, Romee Strijd, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell, and Taylor Hill, making up a few of the 60 women who walked tonight’s runway.
Backstage before the show, the room was glowing pink and the hair extensions were flowing as the world’s top models prepared to walk the most famous runway. The models moved through hair and makeup stations guided by makeup mogul Charlotte Tilbury and hairstylist Anthony Turner who collaborated on a goddess-like look for this year’s show, using light rose taupes and loose curls to give the girls an undone, natural glow.
Bella and Gigi Hadid made their return to this year’s runway for their third time alongside model Kendall Jenner. The supermodels were joined by some groundbreaking newcomers like Winnie Harlow, who made history as the first model with vitiligo to walk the runway.
“I’m so excited to be here. It’s amazing we get to have more representation on everything from red carpets to movies to TV, runway, and magazine covers. I’m happy to be trailblazing today and showing some diversity.” said Harlow backstage.
Joining Harlow were newcomers Josie Canseco, Sadie Newman, and Kelsey Merritt, who also made history as the first Filipino to ever walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
The crown jewel of the show, the Fantasy Bra, was worn by Angel Elsa Hosk. The bra was made using 100% Swarovski Created Diamonds and responsibly sourced topaz. Valued at $1 million, the bra is embellished with over 2,100 Swarovski Diamonds and a 71-carat centerpiece set in a sterling silver Dream Angels bra silhouette. The bra took over 930 hours to make. For the first time ever, Victoria’s Secret will be offering a similar version with Swarovski crystals for its customers available in select stores and online for $250.
Also donned in crystals was Romee Strijd who wore this year’s Swarovskioutfit called “Shooting Star.” The costume included a black sheer bodysuit and a pair of 27-pound wings with over 125,000 crystals on it. This year marks Strijd’s fifth appearance in the show.
This year’s show featured an eclectic group of performances by Halsey, Rita Ora, The Struts, Bebe Rexha, Kelsea Ballerini, Shawn Mendes, and The Chainsmokers. Each performer opened a new theme within the show, from Victoria’s Secret PINK line to Mary Katranzou’s designer collaboration. The London-base designer is known as the “Queen of Prints” and designed an exclusive collection with Victoria’s Secret sexy and glamorous style in mind. Models wore bold, embellished pieces that ranged from track pants, printed parachutes, to even a midi-length jeweled dress. Paired with every look were designer Brian Atwood’s famed wings and heels. The shoe designer returned for his fourth year to create a collection with 100 pairs of shoes with 18 different styles for the models in this year’s show.
Despite recent backlash for the brand’s hyper-sexy image, this year’s show felt more down to Earth than ever before. The show opened with a video that featured models discussing the sisterhood that the brand has given them and how its allowed them to feel empowered in their own skin. Montage videos of past Angels, behind-the-scenes moments, and an exclusive look into the casting process showed the brand’s active effort to rectify their reputation and lift the curtain behind the Victoria’s Secret community that encourages female empowerment. Another sentimental moment came when Adriana Lima, who’s walked the show 18 times, announced her retirement from the Victoria’s Secret Show and walked for her last time to a standing ovation.
The show will broadcast Sunday, December 2nd, at 10 PM EST on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.
Images by Griffin Lipson.
**This article was originally published for Forbes.com.