Tonight the world will interrupt its regularly scheduled programming to experience another Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show—the annual runway spectacular that, in its 19-year history, has become as much about its diminutive pieces of lace and silk as it is about the bodies that wear them. Of the dozens of fresh faces (Miranda! Candice! Rosie!) who have been chosen to model the lingerie house’s latest collections, many have become household names—their trademark limbs and abs acting as their famously toned calling cards.
Since the staging of its first show in 1995, the company has known how to generate a seismic rumble with its supermodel cast: It was the famously zaftig Stephanie Seymour who led the show’s original bombshell lineup (dressed in a comparatively demure range of cantilevered corsets, bras, and teddies) before a small group of fashion insiders at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Word traveled fast, and by the time the event was made available to the public via webcast in 1999, over 2 million viewers tuned in to catch the lean and voluptuous frames of Tyra Banks, Karen Mulder, and Laetitia Casta spring off the pages of the house’s monthly catalog and into high-def reality.
As the show’s ratings grew, so did the onstage spectacles—most notably the wings, which seemed to require an increasingly fit breed of Angel to support their gravitational pull while gliding down the runway. The result was a new generation of stronger, more athletic silhouettes as seen on regulars Adriana Lima, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss.
Above, in honor of tonight’s show, a look back at the best Victoria’s Secret bodies of all time.