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A Really Unreal Cannes

The Victoria's Secret benefit fashion show is an otherworldly production, with a lot of big names watching other big names stroll down the runway wearing very little.

May 22, 2000|AMY WALLACE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CANNES, France — Calling the Victoria's Secret fashion show that was held here at the Cannes International Film Festival last week surreal is like calling the models who walked the runway skinny--it's a vast understatement.

Staged as part of the Cinema Against AIDS benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research--or AmFAR--the show featured some of the world's top models wearing nothing but their skivvies. In the audience was another spectacle: moguls (such as Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein), actors (Gregory Peck, Sean Penn, James Caan and Kenneth Branagh), actresses (Milla Jovovich, Ellen Burstyn and Sela Ward), divas (Elizabeth Taylor and Elton John) and hundreds of other movie industry folks all watching, rapt, as the nearly naked Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Stephanie Seymour strutted past.

The fashion show, which Weinstein said helped double the total raised by the annual charity event to more than $2 million this year, was broken into four moods. The first, dubbed "The Beginning of Time," featured a lot of aqua sequins and something called a mermaid dress. "Heaven," was all white, from the feather coat that Banks donned to the fur chubby and chiffon slit-front halter top that a couple of other hungry-looking women squeezed into.

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Next, after a simulated lightning storm that shook the cavernous casino where the show was staged, came "Hell." Many of the exhausted agents and movie execs who had been making deals around the clock for 10 days at the film festival may have thought they already were in hell. But the startling sight of black studded thongs and hot pants made them realize: Things could be worse.

Finally, "Gold Eden" introduced the audience to the idea that wearing a huge pair of gold feathered wings can--on certain people--look vaguely sexy. Gisele Bundchen donned the mammoth strap-on flappers, along with a gold mesh bra, panties and miniskirt. She looked as if she might actually take flight. But that, as many in the audience could tell you, only happens in the movies.

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