Backstage @ The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

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Here it is again. Like some sort of tsunami, it feels like the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show gains more traction every year. It turns more girls into social media stars, finds new fans, probably sells more Midnight Lover Body Spray...it's unstoppable. This year felt bigger than usual, with a particularly exciting Instagram rollout to make up for the fact that they didn't fly us all to London this time (also Rihanna's regrettable absence). Gigi and Kendall both walked and judging by the amount of stories I've seen already talking about this, people are excited. I mean, the show only filmed yesterday—it hasn't even aired on network television yet. Still, it's fun for me to see Kendall's first VS show after ITG shot her backstage before her first Marc Jacobs show a few seasons ago—and Gigi is always a treat. Honestly, I love seeing all the women backstage. Constance, Gorgeous Borges, Leila Nda, Valery Kaufman, Cindy Bruna, Candice...it's a bit like a reunion. A very sparkly, very pink reunion.

The beauty look in the past has always been pretty pared down. If you'd call extensions and spray tans pared down. But other than that, pretty low-key! Everyone usually just looks like the glowiest, most angelic version of herself. This year, though, Dick Page went for a little bit of a bolder look than last. There are fake lashes, for one. This decision apparently came about after he heard that, in seasons past, a few girls had gone and put on their own falsies in the bathroom pre-show. Instead of full-on bronzer, they cut to the chase by just using a darker foundation. The blush came up a bit in intensity as well—bright red on the apples of the cheeks and a bit on the nose. A pinky nude lip was customized for each girl, plus lots of shimmer all over. The eyes were finished off with a bit of brown Shisiedo Shimmering Cream Eye Color.

[Ed note: Dick was lovely enough to follow up with me after the show and add some specifics. As follows: “The dark detail on the eye was a Shiseido prototype black cream color called Shade C—it goes on a little wet, but dries down to a good, sooty black without any pearl. It was used as a liner, more on top than underneath the eye. The inner eye corner highlight shade was from the Kryolan Interferenz palette, one of the pearl shades with a pink/gold reflection. This also went on the bow of the lip. The red cheek, my trusty Kryolan Red 079. The lip was also a Shiseido prototype called Shade II…it’s a mauve rose with a grayish cast. We topped it off with a little VS Kissaholic Pink Gloss. The lashes are Ardell Naturals Flare. Some girls arrived with lash extensions, which were mostly OK but a few pretty bad, overdone ones. When they're dense and heavy, I find it throws the whole face out of whack. There was also a bit of sneaky contour going on behind my back too, but nothing really dreadful.”]

The hair was kept very simple: “VS bombshell waves' courtesy of Sarah Potempa, Akki and Beachwaver. They kept shorter hair short, which was nice (Hopefully no one went into the bathroom to attempt their own extensions—goes to show that even if you're a VS Angel, when you're in your underwear in front of the world, you just want things to be perfect).

—Tom Newton

Photographed by the author.

More models, makeup, and lingerie: Go behind-the-scenes at last year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show with Tom and makeup artist Dick Page.