The Making of the Victoria’s Secret Holiday Commercial

The Victoria’s Secret fashion show aired recently, and as always, was a spectacle of music, costumes and models. Say what you will about a lingerie fashion show, but given its prime-time slot on a network television channel, it is one of the most accessible fashion shows out there, reaching more eyeballs than most runway shows.

Even though the fashion show is itself a one hour commercial for Victoria’s Secret, the advertising doesn’t stop there. Each year VS also produces a holiday commercial. This year’s was shot in Paris, and reportedly VS paid to keep the Eiffel Tower lighted throughout the night for the production.

I’ve always been struck by the cinematic feel of the VS commercials, and this one is no exception. No wonder, too, since VS brought in Darius Khondji who was the cinematographer for one of my favorite movies — Midnight in Paris.

Khondji said of the commercial: “What’s exciting for me… is that I can improvise much more and we can work on the spirit of the moment like a fashion photographer.”

He wanted to evoke a feeling of film noir — “so it’s not like flat light all the time, it’s like really soft light, but very sensuous.”

Ed Razek is the director of the commercial and also the company’s chief marketing officer. He said Paris was chosen as the film location months ahead of time, due to the Parisian influence in the holiday collection. Khondji was chosen based on his work on Midnight in Paris.

Razek said, “I saw that film and I saw the quality that he had gotten both out of the streets and the magic of the city. Darius had an impossibly romantic view of Paris, and he knows how to celebrate Paris in a way that I think no other director could for us.”

See the behind-the-scenes video here:

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