The decor for Victoria's Secret's recent fashion show, held on November 13 (and broadcast on CBS on November 19), at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City, transformed the large empty space into an old fashioned theatrical environment, complete with runway, for some pretty sexy lingerie. Showman Fabricators in Brooklyn, New York provided all of the staging elements for the event (for the third year running), with rigging by Kish Rigging in Simi Valley, CA.
Showman Fabricators collaborated with I. Weiss of Long Island City, NY, who provided the 1,600 yards of red cotton velour drapes and swags, decorated with 500 yards of gold fringe and braid, creating a proscenium curtain. In addition, the long walls behind the rows of chairs for the guests were dressed with 125' swags.
“The concept is different each year,” explains Warren Katz of Showman Fabricators. “They come to us with concept ideas and renderings and we work out what is possible and practical for the space, and what works within the budget.” For Katz, this project requires a very detailed sampling process, with every sample of fabric, tassels, fringe, and neon closed scrutinized. “We did a full demo of every possible neon color as well as different color combinations,” says Katz, noting that Krypton Neon in Long Island City provided flying panels of neon with chasing lightning bolts in various colors.
The effects also included Mylar disks or “eye-catchers,” used in a scene with a flash-dancer on a rotating turntable near the runway. The runway itself was painted with silver and glitter, then covered with a one-inch layer of loose sequins (round faceted ones). “We used leaf rakes to even them out,” notes Katz. There was also a gold trough, or channel, running the length of the runway to help contain the sequins. Along the trough was a row of clear, round light bulbs looking like footlights. An additional 152' of red velour was used as bunting along the low sides of the runway, adding to the theatrical effect.
Special effects experts Jauchem and Meeh of Brooklyn, NY provided a water misting system as well as silver Mylar angels that were shot of a confetti canon, while I. Weiss also supplied 180' of rain curtains. “This was a big job with a short time frame,” says Jennifer Tankleff, project manager for I. Weiss. She explains that the flat panels of velour were “swagged” by hand, or pulled at the top to create pleats and a curved bottom edge. “Then they are sewn together and the fringe and tassels go on afterward,” she notes. There was also a “tabbing” main curtain that could open and close easily, separating the stage area from the runway and creating the entrance and exit ways for the models.
“They turned a big space into a beautiful space. It was really a work of art,” says Tankleff. Victoria's Secret fans all over the country were able to watch quite a spectacular parade of fantasy lingerie during the television broadcast. Los Angeles-based lighting designer Bob Dickinson designed the lighting, adding color and movement and making the theatrical environment even more festive.