The Creation Process of the Victoria’s Secret Costumes
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2015 was filmed yesterday, but won’t air until December 8, unfortunately. But that doesn’t stop us from digging for inside peeks at the extravaganza! While the models’ looks are undoubtedly fabulous on their own, there is a great deal of costumery that goes into the grandeur of the show. Jeff Fender, an artist based in Brooklyn, designed the patterns for this year’s annual show, and he really allowed his Broadway roots to shine through. He brings that extra flavor to the show that amps up the exuberance, so it’ll be great to see his work come to life when the show airs. So how are the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show costumes created?
Harper’s BAZAAR was given an inside look at what goes into the preparation process, and was also treated to a sneak peek of the costumes that were filmed in the show. Fender takes great pride in his craft, and we’re thrilled to see the complexities that go into the final product. The integrity of his work is clear, since the costumes and wings were individually designed with hand-painted fabric, so this element of care pushes the designs.
“It all starts with a sketch from Victoria’s Secret with the inspiration,” said Fender in an interview with BAZAAR. “They really know what they want. I interpret their vision into a design for the fabric – and then meet with Sarah Sophia to show her options of my designs.” Sarah Sophia Lidz was the person who introduced Fender to costume painting back in 2010, when she was assisting Todd Thomas.
There is quite a lot of intricate work going into each individual look, especially since he takes such care of each garment he produces.
“For something like the boho psychedelic costume, that takes about 304 weeks to make,” Fender began, talking about his very graphic retro print. “It takes a few days to draw the artwork for the pattern. This one dress will be about 18 different panels of fabric – you stretch them on a frame, paint it, steam it for two and a half hours, then dry clean it, and then go back and paint more, steam and dry clean again.”
The tedious repetition in the Victoria’s Secret costume creation process is evident. When it gets its allotted time on the runway, it will be a breath of fresh air, but many people won’t know or will forget about the time consuming work put into the finished product. The repetition is clearly grueling, and may even seem exasperating to some, but Fender has a true gift and passion for the work he creates, which likely helps when the process reaches frustrating moments.
“Since it’s all painting with dye, if you accidentally drop a drip somewhere, or your mess up – you have to start all over,” the artist continued.
Yikes! With all of the work and time going into each section, knowing that one drip could ruin the whole thing must be nerve racking. One beautiful look, however, is Fender’s loose fitting gown that’s sure to be a total stunner as it floats down the runway. The pride in his work really shows when he talks about this dress in particular.
“The butterfly dress I painted in about a week,” he began. “It’s a simpler piece, only 8 pieces of fabric and they mirror each other… I did that all myself.” He later explained more on the process: “I usually plan out all the designs and then my assistants help me paint.”
We can’t wait for the show to air so everyone can see the exuberance the brand has been building us up for. Not only that, but knowing the amount of work Jeff Fender has put into the creation of each piece makes the show more special, especially since the artist is so invested in the work.
“Honestly, this is a really fun project – it’s a lot more fantastical than my theater work. It’s always just fabulous and pretty. Each piece is its own moment.”
Photos courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar