Kirk Maxson
Photography via Instagram/@KirkMaxson

We Spoke to Kirk Maxson about Playing Wingman for Victoria’s Secret

For the 2017 Victoria’s Secret show in Shanghai, there were 55 models from 20 different countries participating in the biggest catwalk the lingerie company has produced in its 22-year show history. There were 88 looks and 38 sets of wings, including the five created by Maxson.

Kirk Maxson is literally a wingman. Victoria’s Secret hired the San Francisco-based artist to create ornate brass wings and crowns for its show in Shanghai after viewing his Instagram account. “On my feed, there are lots of selfies of me wearing crowns that I created out of brass of oak, laurel and olive [leaves and branches],” explains Maxson.

“Instagram seems like it’s not real, and then this thing that I’ve spent so much time on is all of a sudden yielding results!” Maxson, who has been working with metal for 30 years, has been fascinated with ancient Greek myths and art since he was a young boy growing up in Malibu. As a kid, he would visit The J. Paul Getty Museum to explore its Greek collection. Later, he went on to study art and metal works at the University of California, Santa Barbara. For the Victoria’s Secret show, he created five sets of wings and 12 crowns for the Goddesses-themed collection.

The wings for Mississippi native Vanessa Moody featured 180 oak leaves, while Dutch model Sanne Vloet wore wings that had 15 metal doves and 2,320 olive leaves on them. The heaviest wings, worn by Blanca Padilla, weighed 10 pounds and featured over 200 individual brass-sculpted feathers.

After the show, the wings travelled to Victoria’s Secret stores around the world. “They bought them, they own them,” says Maxson. “They probably don’t want to see pictures of all sorts of folks wearing them, which would be awfully tempting if I had them.”