Cold and hungry at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Victoria's Secret models pose to mark the countdown to the 2017 Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai.
Victoria's Secret models pose to mark the countdown to the 2017 Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai. PHOTO: AFP

It is difficult enough to dress for an event, let alone for one of the world's top fashion shows, in sub-10 deg C temperature.

But I made it through my first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Never mind that I placed style over sensibility, opting for a short navy blue lace cocktail dress - I had on a thigh-length winter coat, but my legs were exposed - paired with my trusty pair of Yves Saint Laurent Tribtoo pumps to keep my toes warm.

The day started with my colleague Bryan De Silva, a video producer, and I heading to Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena the morning of the show to get some behind-the-scenes footage of models getting their hair and make-up done.

I was so excited after I received my press pass that I tweeted a picture of it, only to be told to delete it soon after - apparently the Chinese authorities were worried about counterfeits at the high-security event.

Our 20-minute backstage slot - the organisers were particularly strict about this - started at 1.20pm.

I took a deep breath before entering.

Organised chaos. That is how I would describe what it is like behind-the-scenes at the hair and make-up sessions, which started at about 9am on Monday. Everyone, from Brazilian veteran Adriana Lima to relative newcomer Bella Hadid, was getting ready for the show.

I was greeted by a sea of baby pink as I walked down the stairs into a crowded area where models in satin pink robes embroidered with roses, sat in rows, in front of lit mirrors.

They were being tended to by an army of hairstylists and make-up artists. Angel Martha Hunt, for instance, had three stylists curling her lush golden locks.

Beneath their robes, the models were wearing nothing but the brand's Sexy Illusions Push-up Plunge Bra in Sheer Pink.

I almost tripped over a bag on the floor as we darted around the room.

We interrupted models including Liu Wen, Ming Xi, Jasmine Tookes, Lily Aldridge, Alessandra Ambrosio and Taylor Hill, who were gracious enough to talk to us. (Watch our video.)

Ming Xi, a Shanghai-native, told us her favourite thing to eat in the city are the soup dumplings. And boy, did those two words make me hungry.

 
 
 

In fact, we were so busy that we didn't get to eat or drink - sacrilege for a foodie like me - until past midnight.

The show, which started at about 8.30pm, was grand, but the audience, reserved. There was no enthusiastic, boisterous applause after the musical performances and collections. The cheers from a small group of people in the mosh pit were drowned out in the arena that can seat up to 18,000 people. There were only 3,400 guests in attendance that night.

Perhaps, in this case, bigger may not be better.

Being uncouthly herded out of the arena soon after the event into the biting cold also left a bitter aftertaste.

The after-party, attended by 900 guests including the models, ended earlier than anticipated, at 11.45pm. Security ushered partygoers out by midnight, which left us little chance to soak in the revelry.

We left hungry, tired, but still on a high from being privileged enough to be surrounded by beauty and to witness a show of a lifetime.

Rebecca Lynne Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Cold and hungry at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show'. Print Edition | Subscribe