It always arrives at the time of year we need it most, when the sun sets before dinnertime and summer clothing has long since given way to gloves and thick coats. Yes, it's the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, airing Wednesday on CBS at 10 p.m.
The annual special (we'll agree to forget that sad, sad year they decided not to have a fashion show) serves as a showcase for the lingerie and undies that VS hopes to move during the holiday shopping season. But the company has also been canny in using the event to promote its image as a hot brand. Its association with the biggest names in modeling, and its decision to put new models into the superstar pipeline, has helped keep Victoria's Secret fresh.
The show was taped two weeks ago at the newly remodeled Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach. A performer who often wears fewer clothes than the average VS model, Usher, will provide musical accompaniment. Among the stars appearing on the red carpet were Paris Hilton and Robert Duvall, who I singled out so I could become the first person to ever mention both in the same sentence.
This year's models include:
Alessandra Ambrosio: Brazil's influence on Victoria's Secret did not end when Gisele Bundchen hung up her bra. Ambrosio, who has been with the fashion show since she was a teenager, is back in lingerie shape despite having given birth in August. That's why they are called supermodels: that's just not supposed to be possible.
Selina Ebanks: After several years of work for the company, Ebanks ought to be better known by now. Perhaps her problem is that she keeps getting linked with famous men rather than just settling down with one.
Heidi Klum: She's 35 and has had three children in the last five years, but is far from saying auf wiedersehen to the runway. Klum still brings it every year, and was by most accounts the highlight of this year's show. She's the Brett Favre of modeling.
Miranda Kerr: Australia's best export since Foster's. A rare example of a Victoria's secret model who manages to still look wholesome even as she's strutting the runway in a teddy. You want to give her a glass of milk. Unfortunately, according to the latest reports she's now engaged to Orlando Bloom, cutting her hotness factor by a huge margin.
Doutzen Kroes: The new kid on the block. You know she's a relative baby because she has yet to be linked to any rapper, athlete, or European millionaire with questionable income sources. The statuesque Dutch model has her work cut out not only standing out in this crowded field of veterans, but in making the name Doutzen mainstream in the United States.
Karolina Kurkova: In recent weeks, we've seen a minor controversy over Kurkova's apparent lack of a bellybutton. Question: who is looking at her bellybutton area long enough to be able to tell?
Adriana Lima: Another one of the VS hardy perennials, Lima was chosen to wear the VS "Fantasy Bra" this year. The bra is studded with diamonds and reportedly sells for $5 million. Is there really an economic crisis?
Marisa Miller: She has been a late bloomer as supermodels go--her association with VS did not begin until she was well into her twenties--but men love her, as Miller's appearances in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue reveal. Miller is the only American-born model at the top ranks of the Victoria's Secret hierarchy, so it's your patriotic duty to pay close attention when she is onscreen.