The Angels have landed: Yes, the annual panty-parade extravaganza that is the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show returns to CBS this week, with performances by musical luminaries like Kanye West and Jay-Z, Maroon 5, and Nicki Minaj. But the show wasn't always such a huge production. Today, we flash back to August 1995, when Bill Clinton was still in his first term, current Angel Candice Swanepoel was all of six years old (yikes), and the very first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was unveiled. We dug up some video of that inaugural show -- and trust us, things were very different back then.
The 1995 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was held at the Plaza in New York City, and there wasn't an angel wing in sight. (The now-iconic Angels theme didn't debut until 1997.) Instead, models like Stephanie Seymour, Beverly Peele, and Frederique van der Wal (remember them?) paraded down the runway in rather tame lingerie, along with non-intimates like dresses and sweater sets. (Seymour does her best to make a conservative kimono dress look sexy, but we're guessing that one hit the clearance catalog in a hurry.)
The first show is almost unrecognizable by today's standards: no over-the-top costumes, no live musical performances (hence, the '90s techno backing track added onto this YouTube clip), and no public broadcast. (The show was first streamed online in 1999, and didn't start airing on network TV until 2001.) And many of the models we now identify with Victoria's Secret didn't come onboard until years later: Heidi Klum (1997), Tyra Banks (1996), and Gisele Bundchen (1999), among others.
Of course, the show has evolved in the decade and a half since to become the lavish spectacle we now know and love; this year's installment will involve 32 film and video cameras, 21 makeup artists, 19 hair stylists, and 300 pounds of glitter (!). But it's still fun to look back and marvel at the show's very humble origins. One question still remains, though: Do they still sell those kimonos?
Get a sneak peek at this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show right here:
"The 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" airs Tuesday, 11/29 at 10pm ET on CBS.
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