There are many, many elements to dissect about the glimmering, cleavage-y parade of wonderfully impractical lingerie looks (costumes — let’s be real) that comprise the annual Victoria’s Secret show, which happens this week and airs on December 8. After all, past shows have needed 40 cans of spray tanner, $4 million worth of Fantasy Bras, 39 pairs of wings, and 300 pounds of glitter. This year’s Swarovski count is another such nugget that might make your jaw drop: Parisian couturier Serkan Cura, who has crafted some of the show's most elaborate looks for the past three years, used approximately one million Swarovski crystals on 21 of the getups that will be trotted out this year. "I had more looks than I've ever had in the past, so it's very exciting. But, of course, there's added pressure," Cura told Refinery29. "It was a lot of crystals!" The couturier's most labor-intensive piece for the show, a corset that Martha Hunt will wear, is dripping in 90,000 crystals. It took a month to complete just the base of the corset, another two weeks for the fringe, and another month to perfect the embroidery. The outfit weighs in at 22 pounds and will be paired with LED-lit wings by artisan Marian "Killer" Hose.
"We work up until the very last minute — until the day of the show," Cura told Refinery29.
Cura began working on this year's show back in May, collaborating closely with Victoria's Secret's creative director Sophia Neophitou during the numerous fittings involved. "When I come to New York with all of the pieces, in my head I may think that they are perfect and ready," Cura says. "But there are always changes and alterations that are made during fittings. Sophia is so creatively brilliant; she notices every single detail, down to every tiny crystal."
Sparkly matter certainly wasn't the only medium Cura worked with: The Jean Paul Gaultier alumnus, who currently shows his eponymous collection at couture fashion week in Paris, has always had an affinity for feathers (since he was 13 years old, in fact). Cura used fanciful plumes in 16 of the 21 ensembles in this year's show. "There are a lot of feather looks this year!" he exclaims. We got an exclusive peek at Cura's atelier; check out the video below.