NEW YORK - Believe it or not, the Victoria's Secret fashion show belonged to the boys on Wednesday night.
It was Kanye West, Jay-Z and Maroon 5 who got the audience clapping and cheering at the annual lingerie extravaganza at the Lexington Avenue Armory, quite a feat considering they were sharing the stage with the some of the world's top models , in barely-there get-ups, no less.
The show, which also featured a song by Nicki Minaj, who was decked out in a bright orange bustier, cosmic-print skirt and leggings, and a frothy pink wig, will be televised on CBS on Nov. 29.
The worlds of fashion and music always come together on this runway, which is more for entertainment, excitement and brand-building than a serious preview of styles. It really clicked this time, though, when Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine escorted his girlfriend Anne Vyalitsyna down the catwalk and then planted a kiss on her cheek.
She was wearing a push-up bra covered with a crystal-encrusted body overlay. Model Constance Jablonski strutted to "Moves Like Jagger" in an illusion beaded gown with a feather mermaid hemline, and Karlie Kloss wore a corset-style bodysuit covered in tropical colored beads.
A lot of the backstage buzz before the show was about West, who was originally scheduled for the 2007 show but pulled out after his mother's death. Doutzen Kroes and Chanel Iman were among the top Victoria's Secret models, dubbed VS Angels, who posed with him in their micro-mini pink satin robes and told him they expected his set to be a highlight of the night.
"I lost my super hero," he said when he eventually landed on the runway, "and now she's my super angel."
He started singing and that cued Alessandra Ambrosio to come out in a leather harness, push-up bra, thigh-high leather boots and a long, flowing cape splashed with the word "incredible" in cartoon-style letters trailing behind her. Lindsay Ellingson was on her heels in a leather bodysuit paired with silver wings and soon after came Erin Heatherton in a latex bodice and silver-dagger, weaponlike wings.
West then called out his "big bro" Jay-Z to come from backstage for the next song. Both rappers are known fans of sometimes flamboyant fashion, but West wore a brand new Versace for H&M jacket and black leather pants with a low-slung gold belt, and Jay-Z went the black hoodie with black jeans route.
The glitz instead came from Miranda Kerr's Fantasy Bra, studded with $2.5 million worth of diamonds. It was featured in a section of the show called "Angels Aquatic" that was a parade of mermaid goddesses in undergarments embellished with pearls and their wings crafted like shells.
The other fashion themes were ballet, which featured feathers, tutus, legwarmers attached to garters and lace-up stilettos; passion, interpreted in Spanish-style lace boleros and flamenco skirts; and Victoriana, with high tulle collars, parasols, cameo pins and big bustles attached to tiny panties. The finale, called Club Pink, was dedicated to the retailer's loungewear line with heart-covered hoodies, skirts decorated with pompoms and sequin T-shirts.
For Kroes, the show is a chance to play dress-up. It's all fun, she said. "You get your hair and makeup done, and you wear these beautiful, sexy things."