Victoria's Secret Struts In Shanghai
As Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena turned pink on Monday evening, the 2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - said to be the most expensive fashion show in the world - made its debut in Asia.
Thousands of guests packed the seats in the UFO-shaped stadium, many in black tie and tux, long gowns and stilettos, even though the dress code required only lounge-suit standards.
Online rumors had it that admission to the show was auctioned for as high as 250,000 yuan ($37,700) per person. In an email response to China Daily, the company said tickets were not for sale and attendance at the event was by invitation only.
Every invitee, including members of the media, was required to submit their Chinese ID or passport number and information two months ahead. Airport-like ID and security checks were set up to screen guests.
Divided into six themes, the show featured 55 models in 87 looks. One of the themes was inspired by Chinese blue and white porcelain.
Models walking this year's runway included Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel and Karlie Kloss, as well as a record number Chinese faces - seven altogether. Apart from familiar names like Liu Wen, Xi Mengyao and He Sui, one of the Chinese models, Wang Yi, was selected to walk by a TV reality show, Road to Runway, out of more than 30 candidates before the event.
Other Chinese faces were pianist Li Yundi and singer Jane Zhang, who joined Harry Styles, Grammy Award-winning artist Miguel Jontel Pimentel and Hamilton Leslie Odom Jr. to give live performances, as perfectly tanned models flaunted big wings and Swarovski crystal-studded lingerie.
Brazilian "angel" Lais Ribeiro wore the $2 million jewel-encrusted Fantasy Bra this year.
During the 40-minute show, audience members received the lingerie extravaganza with the frigidity of a symphony concert, despite constant attempts by artists and models to cheer them up and interact.
The Victoria's Secret show is likely to set a record in viewership this year, as for the first time it is scheduled to be broadcast on three of China's most popular video portals on the morning of Nov 29 - prime-time for the brand's exclusive telecast partner, CBS, in the United States. Last year, an estimated 800 million audience members around the world watched the show.
The Victoria's Secret lingerie brand opened its first retail store in China in March, a four-floor, 1,475-square-meter space on one of Shanghai's busiest shopping streets, Huaihai Road.
It expanded to Chengdu, Sichuan province, and then, just a week before the show, pushed into Chongqing municipality to establish its third location in the country.