The Victoria's Secret Angels worked their magic on the catwalk Wednesday, weaving between chart-toppers Taylor Swift and Fall Out Boy, and some fancy sets and stage tricks, yet somehow keeping the spotlight mostly on themselves.
The elaborate wings, shiny sequins and strategic flashes of skin certainly helped. Oh, and those Nicholas Kirkwood and Sophia Webster stilettos had the models towering over everyone else, too.
Swift donned a Union Jack costume and a sparkly silver mini-dress, but she never put on the lingerie that makes this annual fashion show so famous. She did give a lively performance of "I Knew You Were Trouble" that got the crowd at the Lexington Avenue Armory on its feet. Faux snow fell from the rafters, adding to the fantasy feel of the production.
Favorite models Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Alessandra Ambrosio and Doutzen Kroes paraded in outfits — maybe a better word is get-ups — that fit themes of Snow Angels, British Invasion, Shipwrecked, Snow Angels, Parisian Nights, Pink Network and Birds of Paradise. (One can imagine this excuse to send tons of feather embellishment floating down the runway.)
At her fitting for her Psychedelic Angel costume, with hand-painted thigh-high boots and maybe the biggest wings of the show, Kloss said that while the garments are skimpy, they take months to make.
Candice Swanepoel got the glory of the opening look, wearing a $10 million bra decorated with diamonds, rubies and sapphires that was cleverly dubbed the "Crown Jewels." She was quickly followed by Cara Delevingne as an English footballer and Lily Aldridge, who often gets the good-girl outfits, as a punk in a tartan plaid skirt that no school would allow.
Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz trailed pretty closely behind them, and who can blame him?
As has become tradition, there wasn't much for the lingerie retailer's customers to wear here, but there was drama, fun and a delicacy to the clothes that seemed a contrast to the more overt sexiness of the past few years. The light touch on the tattered tulle used for the Shipwrecked segment, and the black beads that caught the light of the faux French streetlamps on the side of the runway were examples of design skill.
This was the 18th Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It will be shown as a one-hour special on CBS on Dec. 10.
Follow Samantha Critchell and AP fashion coverage on Twitter at @Sam_Critchell and @AP_Fashion