It is one of the most successful promotional concepts in advertising history, and in many respects is responsible for catapulting the lingerie company Victoria’s Secret into the fashion stratosphere. Called the Fantasy Bra, since 2001 it has been the highlight of the company’s televised fashion show, and being part of a project that has become a mark of achievement for some of the world’s most important jewelry houses and top fashion models.
This year there are not one but two Fantasy Bras, designed exclusively for Victoria’s Secret by world renowned jeweler, Mouawad. Valued at $2 million each, they are adorned with more than 16,000 rubies, diamonds, blue and light blue sapphires and are accompanied by arm, leg, stomach and neck pieces of fine gemstones strung together with 18K gold. According to the jewelry house, they took 1,380 hours to create.
They were worn at the show on December 6 by two Brazilian supermodels, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima.
Broadcast by CBS, which reportedly pays $ 1million a year to cover the event, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is essentially a one-hour advertisement for the company. But it is wildly popular, being viewed in 192 countries, with 16 out of the 21 models on Forbes highest paid model list have been or are Victoria’s Secret angels.
The man behind the extravaganza is Leslie Wexner, who also has in his stable The Limited, Abercrombie and Fitch, Express and Bath & Body Works. Today 77 years, he is the longest serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company and is one of the few chief executives to have recorded an annual return of 20 percent for more 20 years. What he definitely has demonstrated is that colored gemstones, when combined with beauty and show business, most definitely sell.
But while the bras sell the brand, they rarely sell themselves. Only the centerpiece the 2004 edition and the 2012 Floral Fantasy Bra and Gift Set have found buyers. All the others were dismantled a year after having been shown.
The two fantasy Bras for 2014 are relatively inexpensive. The most expensive was the 2000 bra worn by Gisele Bündchen. Valued at $15 million, it earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive item of lingerie ever created.