Victoria's Secret: A Retrospective
There are two sets of "angel-sized" wings hanging on a white wall, free for anyone to pose in front of and take a picture. You may not be Gigi Hadid, but you can be a Victoria's Secret Angel, at least on Instagram. A smart way to get people engaged, I thought.
Another smart idea is to mount an exhibition of the costumes (and sexy underwear) worn at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, mostly from the Paris show in 2016, and some pieces from the previous years. I was skeptical at first, as all I was expecting was a tableau of scantily clad mannequins with feather wings, and lots of glitter.
But the much publicized exhibition was more than that. At the back of the third level of the flagship store on Fifth Avenue, is a huge space transformed into an art gallery of immaculate whiteness and perfect lighting, "museum-level," if I may call it that. Yes, its not McQueen at the Met or Gaultier at the deYoung, but dare I say, comparable, and just as scholarly.
What I've always thought as garish are actually perfectly crafted garments when witnessed up close. Besides, a mannequin is less intimidating than looking at a model's pussy hiding in panties no bigger than a cellphone. The engineering of those carnival sized paper sculpture adornments, and the meticulous construction of gigantic feather wings, are enough testaments to Victoria's Secret's ability to employ and pull together the best artists and artisans of the highest level.
The best feature of the show is the staging of the development process of the garments. Beautiful sketches, fit forms, fabrics, patterns, mood boards, and all that delicious dirty work that shows the birthing process of every piece featured in the exhibit.
To get to the gallery, one has to cross a river of merchandise begging to be bought. Lest we forget, this is VS's flagship store, if not the biggest. I wonder, how many people came to see this exhibit and came home with brand new undies? Clever.
"Victoria's Secret: A Retrospective," at Victoria's Secret Flagship Store, 640 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10019.
Click on the photos below for a full screen view
photos: © 2017 Arturo Veloira