The 10 Most Expensive Victorias Secret Fashion Shows

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.

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.

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.

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, and Heidi Klum. The show drew 7.4 million viewers.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

Believe It or Not, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Has a Boob Problem

How much is victoria's secret worth

How much is victoria's secret worth

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has a boob problem — and we're certainly not talking about too many of them.

No, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has a "breast diversity" problem. Just take a look back to the '90s, when the famed fashion show first began.

How much is victoria's secret worth

How much is victoria's secret worth

How much is victoria's secret worth

Back in the 1990s, when the show started as a staid industry affair in New York City, the average bra size in the United States was a 34B . Twenty years later, the average size is now a 34DD, by some measures . 

More women having big boobs has led to  an increased demand  for bigger bras. Wacoal America, one of the biggest bra brands, told the  New York Times  in 2009 that its most popular size had reached 36DD, up from a 36D the year before and a 36C two years before that.

And yet the models in the most recent Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which now broadcasts bras and lingerie outfits for millions of viewers in a nationally televised event, looked like this: 

How much is victoria's secret worth

How much is victoria's secret worth

How much is victoria's secret worth

How much is victoria's secret worth

The small boob beauty standard: The visibly smaller chests of this era's Victoria's Secret models is undoubtedly related to smaller model bodies  in general. The bodies of the '90s weren't necessarily more attainable, but Victoria's Secret showcased a more varied vision of beauty based on a curvier norm: Some women were curvier with thick thighs and athletic builds, while others were more slight. 

"When I was modeling, size 6 was a normal size, and now it's like 2," Cindy Crawford told the Daily Mail in 2011.

But the lack of "boob diversity" is its own challenge, as anyone who's shopped for a DD+ bra knows. Breasts have their own cultural beauty standards to fit, and the norm today — outside the Maxim world, of course — veers smaller and perkier. Women are even having their breast implants removed  or opting for smaller implants to begin with. As Wacoal reported in  a 2005 survey , "There is a stigma about wearing larger cup sizes." 

If the Victoria's Secret Angels aren't evidence enough, just check stores. Despite booming demand  from growing busts, there aren't nearly enough bra options above a DD from mainstream retailers, and the options out there tend toward the matronly and ugly. 

"I9apos;m faced with a very limited assortment," Roisin Brodie of plus-size lingerie brand  Hips & Curves previously told   Mic ,  adding, ". I can have a black and beige bra."

How much is victoria's secret worth

Victoria's Secret is one of the guilty parties. The mega-retailer sells bras up to a size DDD and band sizes as big as a 40 across its 1,100 locations. But even with larger bras, the store has a reputation for bras that seem far smaller than the labeled cup size. Women have  called out the store's bra-measuring techniques and point out that even the small-boobed models walking the runway aren't wearing bras that fit. 

Yet Victoria's Secret remains one of the  most popular lingerie stores  in the world, and its models set the standard for lingerie. The bulk of the fantastical outfits worn on the Angel-filled runways may not be for sale (that crazy diamond-encrusted bra is worth a cool  $2 million  this year), but countless women still tune in for a look at what "beauty9quot; looks like. 

How much is victoria's secret worth

To do that, diversity matters. The fashion show's commitment to racial diversity has fluctuated over the years, with no black Angels in 2013; this year, there are just two Angels of color : Jasmine Tookes and Lais Ribeiro. On the body front, the lingerie brand has never cast a plus-size model, but it wouldn't need to look hard to find one, with models like  Ashley Graham  and  Candice Huffine  getting great responses in lingerie shoots.

But boob diversity is its own unique kind of diversity, one that speaks not only to plus-size women or women of a certain culture. Victoria's Secret is a bra company, for goodness sake, and it has the perfect platform in its yearly show to celebrate models with breasts that actually reflect the average American woman's.

With the national average growing bigger and bigger, why isn't there a Victoria's Secret Angel who looks like the majority of American women?