NEW YORK — Victoria's Secret doesn't put on a typical fashion show. Besides strategically draped models, Thursday's show featured musical numbers, acrobats and even a runway showdown between a model and anti-fur protesters.
Activists for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals rushed the stage as Gisele Bundchen strutted down the runway in a beaded bra and panties, thigh-high black stockings and red strappy heels. The four female protesters, carrying signs that read "Gisele: Fur Scum," shouted at the supermodel as she calmly completed her runway turn.
The protesters were taken away, the lights went down and the segment of the show that was interrupted was redone. As Bundchen strode out for the second time in the outfit, the audience erupted into applause for the composed supermodel.
The dramatic confrontation was oddly fitting in a show that featured tried-and-true black lace numbers as well as everything from clear go-go boots with Day-Glo lingerie to fur caps paired with moccasin boots. And wings, lots of wings.
"This year we really worked much harder to develop a connection with hot-off-the-runway products," said Grace Nichols, president and CEO of Victoria's Secret Stores.
Longtime Victoria's Secret model Heidi Klum and Sugar Ray front man Mark McGrath served as hosts, while R&B trio Destiny's Child sang "The Eight Days of Christmas" and salsa singer Marc Anthony performed "Tragedy."
"We do see it as entertainment, and we do put on a show," chief marketing officer Ed Razek said.
The show, in its seventh year, attracted a varied group of celebrities. Huddled up together were Donald Trump, girlfriend Melania Knauss and former Talk magazine publisher Tina Brown. Two seats away was sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, and rounding out the front row were soap queen Susan Lucci, Sex and the City fashion designer Patricia Field and model Tyson Beckford.
"There isn't a model in the world today that wouldn't want to do this show," Razek said.
Sending women like Tyra Banks, Noami Campbell and Heidi Klum down runways wearing lingerie has proven a successful formula for the retailer, which initially envisioned the fashion show as a way to publicize its Web site, Razek said. After attracting record traffic in two Internet broadcasts, ABC picked up the show in 2001 and broadcast it as a one-hour special. The 2002 show, titled "Christmas Dreams & Fantasies 2002," will air Nov. 20 on CBS.