Backstage with the Angels

The Straits Times attended the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show held in Shanghai, China, for the first time. Catch all the action on stage and backstage with journalists Bryan De Silva and Rebecca Lynne Tan.
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show models posing with Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain.
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show models posing with Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES
From left: Lily Aldridge, Josephine Skriver and Elsa Hosk before the show.
From left: Lily Aldridge, Josephine Skriver and Elsa Hosk before the show.PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES
The show in Shanghai featured seven Chinese models including (from left) Ming Xi, Xin Xie and Estelle Chen.
The show in Shanghai featured seven Chinese models including (from left) Ming Xi, Xin Xie and Estelle Chen. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Model Ming Xi, who fell on stage, had told The Straits Times she was nervous before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Chinese model Ming Xi's tumble at the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai on Monday night is the latest runway moment to go viral.

The 28-year-old tripped on the flowy metallic gown of her costume from the show's A Winter's Tale collection. Her outfit also included white floral-motif feathered wings with Swarovski crystals.

After the show, the Shanghai native - it is her fifth time participating in the annual show - took to social media channels Weibo and Instagram to share her thoughts.

The glamorous fashion show that is shown in some 190 countries and had 1.4 billion views last year, was held in Asia for the first time since it began 22 years ago. Over the years, it has taken place in cities including New York, Paris and London.

Held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Pudong, the 45-minute show was also the lingerie brand's biggest one to date, with 3,400 invited guests that included celebrities such as Hong Kong actor Simon Yam, American-Taiwanese singer and actor Vanness Wu, Chinese actress Xu Lu and Chinese hip-hop artist Pg One.

In previous years, the show, filmed twice on the same night, accommodated 1,200 to 1,700 guests a session. In Shanghai, it was shot only once. It remains to be seen if Xi's fall will be included when the show is aired on American TV network CBS on Nov 28 in the United States.

On Tuesday, a day after the event, Xi said in a post on Instagram: "It was no doubt one of the hardest moments I have ever had to go through in my career, especially since the show was taking place in my hometown, in front of my mother's and my people's eyes.

Model Grace Elizabeth.

"However, the support I received from everyone yesterday was incredible and I am truly grateful to everyone who was there for me."

In her post, she also thanked fellow model Gizele Oliveira, who helped her up, and the show's executive producer Edward Razek.

Mr Razek said in his Instagram post: "Ming, there is no shame in falling. But there is great triumph in rising and finishing the journey."

When The Straits Times spoke to Xi during her hair and make-up session, ahead of her runway segment, she admitted that she was both nervous and excited.

She said: "When you get out there, you have no thoughts on your mind. You're blank, you just think, 'okay, what am I going to do?'.

"I'm so happy that this time the Victoria's Secret show is in Shanghai. My mum is coming to see me walk. She has never seen me walk at any kind of fashion show."

Of the 55-model cast, the show featured a record seven Chinese models this year: Xi, Liu Wen, He Sui and Ju Xiaowen, as well as newcomers Estelle Chen, Xie Xin, and Wang Yi.

The show also marked veteran Angel Alessandra Ambrosio's 17th and last appearance. The 36-year-old Brazilian mother of two confirmed rumours of her retirement in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

Before the show, she told The Straits Times about her strong affinity to the brand.

As her lids were dusted with taupe eye shadow, she said: "The brand embraces women. It makes us feel good, powerful and confident (enough) to get out of the house and win the world."

She walked the runway twice on Monday night, first in the Punk Angel collection that featured the VS x Balmain fishnet push-up bra and Strappy Cheeky panty, with a metallic fringe mini dress; and in the tribal-themed Nomadic Adventure collection, where she wore a lacy red high-neck bra and brief ensemble with woven wings paired with thigh-high Aztec-inspired open-toed boots.


The show featured more than 80 outfits from six collections, that also included Porcelain Angel, Millennial Nation and Goddesses.

The VS x Balmain collection, designed by the French luxury fashion house's creative director Olivier Rousteing, is Victoria's Secret's first collaboration. The collection features studs, tartan, and metallic and diamante embellishments.

It will be available in Singapore from Dec 7, at the brand's year-old full-assortment lingerie, fashion and accessories Mandarin Gallery flagship store, which is managed and run by Malaysia-based retail and lifestyle group Valiram.

The group, which also distributes brands such as fashion labels Michael Kors and Kate Spade, and luggage brand Tumi, opened Victoria's Secret's first beauty and accessories store here in 2010.

Next year, Valiram plans to open full assortment stores in Bangkok and Bali. Australia is also on the cards for 2019.

A spokesman for the group said: "We are committed to bringing the Victoria's Secret magic to the region by launching all the fabulous products within one week of launch in the US market. Sales potential has been significantly above our plan."

The group operates the Victoria's Secret business in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines and Macau.

•Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

Correction note: The photo captions have been updated for accuracy. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Backstage with the Angels'. Print Edition | Subscribe