Givenchy F/W 09 Backstage – Image Courtesy of Style.com
Sex is a skill – or at the very least it can be. With the right application of bronzer, a push up bra and coyness anyone can be “sexy”. That is the hidden message behind Victoria’s Secret. The fruity body lotion and cotton panties don’t speak for themselves – they’re pushed into our lives via a calculated marketing gimmick that has elevated the brand from catalog mainstay to billion dollar industry. With its lineup of attractive, affable Angels the company strives to make the point even clearer. While every one of their girls is a knockout in her own right they’re all helped by a little bit of VS magic.
Karen Elson & Adriana Lima by Steven Meisel – Vogue US December 1997
Maybe that is why Adriana Lima has been the perfect ambassador for the brand. Follow her career trajectory and you’ll find she didn’t start out as “sexy” at least not in the uber accessible, highly commercial sense. Those with an especially keen memory may recall Adriana sporting a buzz cut and black liner during her early years when her look was decidedly editorial in its allure. Back in ’97 when she was paired alongside atypical beauties like Karen Elson as she posed for Steven Meisel, Lima was a part of a very different crowd. Hers was an edgy and unconventional beauty that matured into something accessible. While she may not have straddled the line between the artistic and the commercial as well as some of her peers (well played GIsele) every so often she’s made her presence felt via interesting work.
Adriana Lima by Ellen Von Unwerth for Vogue Italia, September 2000
Perhaps then the collective industry eyebrow waggle when Lima resurfaced on the Givenchy runway and between the pages of Love Magazine is a bit uncalled for. As the boundaries break and the differences between editorial and commercial girls become more tenuous we’re liable to see many more return to their high fashion roots. Victoria’s Secret (and its bikini clad crony Sports Illustrated) may raise a girl’s profile but it’s a well timed turn on a selective catwalk that keeps it pristine.
Adriana Lima for Love Magazine S/S 09