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Todd Thomas, Victoria’s Secret Designer, on Runway Mishaps and Recovery Days

Todd Thomas is one of the creative minds behind Victoria’s Secret’s annual runway show. He began working on Victoria’s Secret eleven years ago, working his way up from tailor to become one of the two creative consultants on the team (the other is stylist Charlotte Stockdale).

We sat down with Thomas ahead of the Victoria’s Secret show, which takes place tonight and airs on November 30, to talk about Kurkova mishaps, custom-made Halloween costumes, and the yoga shorts he never leaves the house without.

What was the creative process for VS this year for you like personally?
It’s a collaborative effort with stylist Charlotte Stockdale. We wrap up at the end of the year, listen to the responses from the audience, peers from the fashion world, and our friends, anybody. We start having conversations in January, February. In April, we start compiling all these thoughts, lists, and inspirations we’ve made, tear sheets, references, art openings. It could be a cartoon, a found image of an animal running though the desert for the wild-things section.

We whittle things down, make presentations, looking at design from the company itself. We really take the direction internally (from the designers at Victoria’s Secret) and frame what they’ve been doing and amp it up for the show. We have a big vast story that we need to edit down to paragraphs [that are] strong, concise, of ideas of what the story will be. Out of all those thoughts, we come up with five or six sections.

Any favorite moments you remember?
In 2006 Karolina Kurkova lost her shoe in a pile of glitter and she kept Barbie-walking all the way to the end. Everyone backstage was looking at the monitor yelling profanities. She didn’t miss a beat on her face, but she was on one six-and-a-half-inch heel and the other foot tiptoe all the way, and she lost it when she came backstage.

What do you do the day after the show?
The day after is all about popcorn and movies at home. I want to see the Magnetic Fields documentary (Strange Powers) and the I Spit on Your Grave remake.

What’s your favorite costume you’ve ever created?
“Half Breed” Cher for Monica Mitro, executive vice-president of PR at Victoria’s Secret, for Heidi Klum’s Halloween costume party.

What’s one thing you’re saving up to buy?
A rat-hole cottage.

What was the first designer item you bought?
A Givenchy shirt at a mall in St. Louis.

What should every guy have in his closet?
Alden shoes.

What should every girl have in her closet?
A good foundation, whatever you need for your outfit: a good bra, Spanx, etc.

What do you never leave the house without?
Shorts for yoga.

Todd Thomas, Victoria’s Secret Designer, on Runway Mishaps and Recovery Days