In 2017 the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is an elaborate spectacle from start to finish, where superstars like Karlie Kloss, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Bella Hadid don expensive (and heavy) now iconic wings, flaunt bombshell hair, and Fantasy Bras with million-dollar price tags—not to mention the millions of Swarovski crystals, dozens of glam squads, hours of gym time the angels put in, and the extensive social media posts used to promote the runway show.
But that’s not how things always were.
The first-ever Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, 20 years ago, was a much simpler and (seemingly) accessible event, according to Cindy Crawford, who celebrated this year’s show with a throwback for the books. In the video posted to Instagram, a cowboy-hat-wearing Crawford sits atop a horse and warns “the boys” to turn on a “cold shower” before cutting to grainy footage of nineties supermodels, looking, well, very nineties.
They sport cool-tone makeup featuring brown lipstick and pin-straight hair. But it’s their simple outfits that stand out in contrast to the flashy and elaborate looks that have become synonymous with Victoria’s Secret. Instead of over-the-top Swarovski crystal-encrusted ensembles (which never go on sale at any store), the models seem to be wearing exactly what you might find in a vintage catalogue: plain push-up bras, silky slips, and terry cloth bathrobes. There’s definitely no Fantasy Bra in sight—it was a tradition that began in 1996 when Claudia Schiffer wore a 100-carat diamond bra in advertisements but didn’t actually walk the runway in it.