Autumn has once again flown by. Snow queens and snow elements have descended upon New York City, which can only mean one thing: the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

The Super Bowl of fashion shows will be broadcast on December 10 and promises more bedazzled bosoms than ever.

Monica Mitro, executive vice president of communications and events for Victoria’s Secret, ensures that this year “will be the most elaborate show with the most elaborate costumes.”

Swarovski provided millions of crystals to frost over twenty pieces of luxurious lingerie, some of which were created with cutting edge 3D printed technology that crafted designs based off of digital scans of the models’ bodies. This development (another Swarovski contribution) yields fabric literally made of crystals, a must given the seasonal wintry theme (one of six) headlined by a Snow Queen and other Victoria’s Secret Angels. A team of experienced artisans and hair and makeup stylists work their magic to complement the work of costume creators; since the models can’t be left to strut their stuff alone, celebrity guests Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, and a Great Big World will provide entertainment.

Behind the scenes of it all? Money – and lots of it.

Since the first runway show in 1995, Victoria’s Secret executives have amped up funding 100-fold, increasing the show’s operating budget from a mere $120,000 to over $12 million, not including the show’s most iconic piece of lingerie.  2013’s “Royal Fantasy Bra” alone is worth an estimated $10 million (including the $2 million belt.) Adorned with 4,200 gems and a 52-karat ruby, this bra redefines extravagance.

Ultimately, the $12-plus million is a small price to pay for the brand’s largest promotional opportunity. CBS shelled out a cool $1 million for rights to broadcast the spectacle to a drooling audience of over 12 million.

If the millions budgeted for the 2013 show were allocated away from glorified undergarments and toward the fight for clean water, many more than 12 million lives would be permanently changed.

According to UNICEF, over 768 million people worldwide are without access to clean water and at high risk of contracting dangerous waterborne communicable diseases. An estimated 1,600 children die each day due to poor sanitation, hygiene, or water quality, all of which are preventable with simple solutions like hand pumps, water purification tablets, and Oral Rehydration Salts.

The UNICEF Tap Project is a nationwide initiative focused entirely on providing effective, economical life-saving measures to at-risk communities. Small sums yield significant change: $25 cleans almost 17,000 liters of contaminated water with purification tablets; $50 provides over 600 sachets of rehydration salts to combat dehydration; and $500 provides a hand pump to supply clean water to an entire town.

Were Victoria’s Secret executives to put the show on hold for just one year and siphon funds to UNICEF, the Tap Project could provide:

  • 24,000 hand pumps to communities in need of long-term access to clean water,
  • 144 million sachets of rehydration salts to combat dehydration (affecting nearly one-fifth of the entire population without clean water access) and
  • 8.1 billion liters of purified, safe and drinkable water.

On December 10, Victoria’s Secret’s head honchos will see green as the svelte snow angels strut their stuff. The next day, rather than undertaking plans to out-crystal this year’s show in 2014, perhaps they will pause and consider how they themselves could be angels in the fight for clean water.

Casey Ernstes

Sources: The New York Post, The World Bank, UNICEF USA, UNICEF USA, Women’s Wear Daily, Women’s Wear Daily
Photo: Eat Drink SetX