There are few things I want more in life than to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel. However, even after a year of dieting and exercising like the Angels (really!), I am still merely an earthling. But that hasn’t stopped my fascination with all things V.S., so I set out to meet Marian “Killer” Hose, the official wing-maker of the brand.
I arrive to her studio on a Friday morning, and on display are five pairs of wings that will grace the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show stage this year. One pair, which features an elaborate web of blinking lights, is hooked up to an oversized battery pack and Hose’s assistant is affixing it with hundreds of Swarovski crystals from a hot glue plate. A second mechanically-advanced pair will actually spin. The other three, considerably larger in scale, did not move but were not any less impressive.
And then my dreams came true when Hose slipped a pair on back. Forget RedBull, Victoria's Secret gives you wings. Though totally and completely awesome, walking in an Angel’s shoes (or wings in this case) is not easy, so, ahead, everything I learned from my personal Victoria Secret’s wing fitting.
1. Light as a feather is just what it means.
“This one is about 700 feathers,” says Hose. “It weighs like two pounds.” Hose says of one Alessandra Ambrosio’s show looks. “These are starter wings.” I strut, I shake, and I refuse to take them off.
2. But some wings are considerably larger.
“This one is probably about 14 pounds”, Killer tells me before strapping me into another set. Once the harness is resting on my shoulders, I start tilting backward under the weight, and, for sure, my body is a lot sturdier than that of your average Angel. “We have had girls wear wings up to 22 pounds. They are in 4-inch heels and it’s a long runway. It used to have glitter, but now they have this amazing LED runway, which is easier to walk on. All the girls want big wings until they get them and then they’re like ‘oh, wow!’ ”
3. We all get by with a little help from our friends.
Hose helps each Angel get in and out of their wings amid the chaos backstage. During my fitting, she and her assistant assist me. “You need to put your arms down like an angel,” she says. A team of four supported Killer with the wings for this year’s show. One electrician is assigned to supplying the power for the light up ones, while another provides his expertise for the firework wings’ motorized wheel.
4. All good things take time.
While the Angels are training their bodies, Hose and her team are working out in a different way. “This is an 8 month process,” says Hose. “We started working on the designs in April, but a wing can take anywhere from 20 hours to 600 hours. Foam work pieces take a lot longer than something like the feather pieces. This has at least 4,000 crystals on it, and we are still going to encrust it more to have about 10,000.”
5. It’s not weird to get emotional.
Since not every girl that walks in the show gets wings, it is often an emotional experience for those that get the honor. “Izabel Goulart is always so expressive," says Hose. “Once the wings gets on stage, you never know how it is going to look under the lights. My favorite part is looking at the pictures. I go on Pinterest to find all of them.”
6. You actually need to be an Angel to get a pair of wings.
Though she gets commissions, Hose says, “I don’t generally do that; it would have to be special circumstances.” Trust me, guys. It was me that asked.