This year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show featured 47 models, but the star of the show was Taylor Swift. The show, which airs December 9 at 10 p.m. on CBS, took place Tuesday in London.
Despite elaborate costumes from the models, many fans were gushing about Swift’s performance on social media. She performed two songs. The singer also opened and closed last year’s show, where she walked among the models.
Swift’s role in the show is outsized: Last year’s hour-long special featured a segment dedicated to the models like Karlie Kloss praising the singer’s talent. This kind of attention on a performer during the show was unprecedented. Past artists, like Fall Out Boy, merely served as background music.
But by putting Swift on a pedestal, Victoria’s Secret was wisely pandering to potential customers—her fans. Swift has what is possibly the most ardent fan base of any singer. She is adored by millions of teenage girls and young women across the United States and worldwide—exactly the type of shopper Victoria’s Secret is trying to attract. Weeks after its release, her album 1989 is already the top record of 2014.
Swift also has serious sway over her fan base. When Abercrombie & Fitch released a shirt that said “more boyfriends than t.s.”, fans protested until it was pulled from shelves. An independent shirt company designed a garment listing her love interests, and promptly received death threats.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret is the first big clothing brand to harness Swift’s power for good. By hiring Swift to perform and treating her with utmost respect, the brand won the approval of the so-called Swifties. Victoria’s Secret will likely reap big benefits from once again making Swift the star of the show.