I have been in fashion for 20 years and I have never really been into runway shows. However, a few weeks ago, my friend Jeff Madoff, an incredible director/producer, who has worked with companies like Victoria’s Secret and Ralph Lauren for many years, invited me to the Victoria’s Secret fashion show (basically the hardest ticket in the world to get!). I had some business I needed to take care of in London anyway, so I decided to take Jeff up on his offer.
London is a beautiful city, and after a day of running around taking care of meetings, the night arrived and I was ready to take in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. When I pulled up to the pink carpet, I hopped out of the car and waded through the sea of beautiful people, and eager photographers taking pictures at a breakneck pace.
I made it to my seat, and soon Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and more, treated the audience to some remarkable performances. Then, all of a sudden these beautiful, tall, slender models begin to walk out. It is clear that these women have dedicated years of time and energy to their physiques, and their efforts were highlighted beautiful in this incredible show, that had the pageantry of a Hollywood film, starring breathtaking superheroes wearing beautifully constructed costumes.
Just to be clear, I have never aspired to date a model. I tend to prefer curvaceous women, and while I don’t mind my date being a little bit taller than me, at 5’7” most models tower over me. Despite this, I can’t help but recognize how special these women are. They are truly in the 1% of women, who have cultivated their natural gifts at a young age (18-24 is the average lifespan for the career of a runway model). Now, regardless of what you think of these women’s lifestyles, or your suspicions about their eating habits etc., it’s important to recognize who these women are in a larger context. Take a look at the men who vie the title of Mr. Universe, spending days upon days in the gym highlighting their best natural qualities, or Sumo wrestlers, who capitalize, and nurture on their formidable sizes and strengths to become elite. What about the 7-foot-tall basketball players who aspire to be the next Hakeem Olajuwon? These people, along with Victoria’s Secret models, are society’s extraordinary standouts. They have all taken their incredibly rare, natural gifts, and built upon them, until they reached the top of their field.
The fact is the clothing looks incredible on these women. Their body types highlight the designs perfectly. That is their purpose. They are not meant to represent the average or ideal woman; they are there because they make the clothing look the best. Now, when I had the opportunity to judge the Miss American competition, the criteria were quite different. Those women are supposed to represent American female, and their purpose to represent something to aspire to. That’s why the winners must posses a combination of looks, talent, intelligence, and social conscience. In addition, when it came to the bathing suit competition, we were specifically instructed not to vote for women who we felt would send a negative message to young women about body-image.
I couldn’t release this blog without mentioning my close family friend, the stunning, Jasmine Tookes who walked in the show. I’ve known Jasmine since she was a 12 year-old girl running around in pajamas, and to see her as this incredibly beautiful and accomplished woman made me extremely proud.
Many of you probably saw my tweets and pictures from the after-party in which I was jokingly calling myself the “ugly” guy surrounded by “beautiful” people. It was all in good fun, and “ugly” and “beautiful” people alike had a terrific time at the after-party. The models were thrilled to celebrate the completion of the show, and many of them brought their boyfriends. Even the prettiest man I know, a guy who can really make you feel ugly, Tyson Beckford was in attendance.
As an entrepreneur, naturally, my takeaway from this experience was business-themed. Lingerie is the number one searched category of clothing in the world, and people almost never want to pay more than 10-$15 for it. That’s why you typically only see it sold only in big mass-market department stores. The fact that a huge, respected global brand like Victoria’s Secret exists is incredibly impressive. It’s basically like having a high-end white t-shirt company. Victoria’s Secret is a rare, unique, exclusive brand, at the top of its industry; of course they want women who represent those same qualities to be the faces of their brand. Too many people are so busy either drooling over these women, or criticizing them, that they fail to recognize the value of the brand. Love it or hate it, there’s a reason that you’re talking about it, and it will likely lead you into a Victoria’s Secret store sooner or later.
Different brands make people feel different ways. What are some of your favorite brands, clothing or other categories, and why? How do you feel when you wear the clothing or use the products made by your favorite brands? Let me know in the comments. This subject can be polarizing, lets a get a good dialogue going.