The 2019 Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been cancelled, its parent company L Brands has confirmed. This is the first time that the news – first mooted by VS model Shanina Shaik in July – has been made official by the label itself.
When asked if there would be a brand fashion show this year, L Brands chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer said: “No, we’ll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show. We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret.”
Earlier this year, regular VS models were commenting on how “disappointing” it is that the show wasn’t taking place – including 27-year-old Georgia Fowler.
“I mean I’ve done it for the past three years and it was always a dream growing up to be a part of it,” the New Zealand-born model told the Australian Daily Telegraph in October. “It’s disappointing it’s not going to happen this year – but who knows what will happen.”
Shanina Shaik, who is a longtime ambassador for the lingerie retailer, has appeared in the catwalk show seven times since making her debut in 2011.
“Unfortunately the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year,” she told the Daily Telegraph in July. “It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an angel.”
The 28-year-old added that she doesn’t think it’s a permanent decision (so there may well be a VS fashion show 2020), and that the cancellation of this year’s event was likely due to the organisers “trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show, because it’s the best show in the world”.
Prior to the model’s comments, it was previously reported that the show would no longer be broadcast on television – but there was nothing yet to suggest that it wouldn’t be happening at all.
Fast forward two months from Shaik’s interview, and Rihanna hosted her Savage x Fenty show spectacle during New York Fashion Week – an event which aired exclusively on Amazon Prime on 20 September. Naturally, the decision to broadcast the show meant that comparisons were drawn to VS – specifically the stark differences between the two brands. Rihanna’s event demonstrated a body-positive, size-inclusive approach to lingerie that celebrated and empowered a diverse spectrum of women, causing many to announce that she’d triumphed where Victoria’s Secret had failed. Her models – who were of different ethnicities, sizes and shapes – didn’t simply walk down a runway, they twerked, stomped and danced their way through the show.
Earlier this year, Leslie Wexner, chief executive of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, confirmed that the VS show wouldn’t be broadcast on network TV.
“We have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” he wrote in an email sent to fellow employees. “Going forward, we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”
He also noted that the show, which was traditionally broadcast via US network giants ABS and CBS, “must evolve and change to grow”. With this in mind, he wrote, L Brands hopes to create “a new kind of event”.
The news comes amid falling viewing figures, as the once-popular television event only drew in 3.3 million viewers last year in comparison to five million the previous year – making it a record low for the lingerie giant.
For almost two decades, fashion followers from across the globe tuned in to watch the likes of Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Karlie Kloss transform into ‘angels’ as they walk the runway decked in bejewelled lingerie and feathered wings.
The cancellation of the show isn’t entirely surprising, as Victoria’s Secret has repeatedly come under fire for its lack of diversity on the runway.
In November 2018, former chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, was forced to apologise after claiming the public has no interest in seeing plus-size or transgender models on the catwalk.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No,” he said in the controversial Vogue interview. “No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Shortly after the news broke that the fashion show broadcast was cancelled, it was announced that Razek was retiring, according to a note sent to employees by Wexner. The news was then confirmed by the New York Times.
The lingerie brand is working hard to reinvent itself post-scandal, as Wexner also hinted that Victoria’s Secret is set to “push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age”.
The brand also recently hired it’s first transgender model. Valentina Sampaio will star in a campaign for the label’s diffusion line Pink.
The 22-year-old took to Instagram to share the news that she was the brand’s latest recruit. Uploading a photograph of her sitting in a dressing gown, she captioned the shot: “Backstage click @vspink”. She followed with another post of her urging her followers to “never stop dreaming”.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on Aug 1, 2019 at 8:10am PDT
Fans were quick to congratulate the model and actress including a number of a-listers. Victoria’s Secret angel and fellow Brazilian, Lais Ribeiro, took to Twitter and said: “First transgender to shoot with VS! This makes me so happy!”. While Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox wrote under Sampaio’s photograph: “Wow finally”.
Karlie Kloss, who walked in the show several times, recently explained why she chose to stop working with the underwear giant, saying that she didn’t agree with the message it was sending to young women.
“The reason I decided to stop working with Victoria’s Secret was I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful,” Kloss told British Vogue. “I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world.”
Other high-profile models have also been outspokenly critical of the show in recent months. Kate Upton, who has never appeared on the VS catwalk, said that the brand’s downfall has been its lack of inclusivity.
“You know what, we’re sick of seeing the same body type,” the 27-year-old said during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “You have to be body inclusive now. Every woman needs to be represented. Otherwise it’s a snoozefest.”
Kate Upton Kevin MazurGetty Images
Upton has been on the receiving end of the lingerie label’s narrow idea about ideal female beauty before. In 2012, Victoria’s Secret casting director Sophia Neophitou said that Victoria’s Secret “would never use her”.
“She’s like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blonde hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy,” Neophitou said.
Despite admitting her “disappointment” that the show wouldn’t be happening this year, VS regular Georgia Fowler voiced her support for having a more diverse casting, saying that “there should be diversity because beauty comes in all forms”.
The annual VS show typically took place in November every year, to be broadcast on television a month later. It was once the most-watched fashion event of the year with around $12 million (about £9.2 million) spent on putting the spectacle together – a huge figure considering most catwalk shows cost an estimated $1million (about £700,000).
Look back at every single look from the 2018 catwalk extravaganza, here:
Go backstage with the models in hair and make-up, here:
And see what the models wore to walk the pink carpet at the 2018 after-party, here:
Here’s everything you need to know about the previous shows:
- The line-up
- The venue
- The costumes
- The performers
- There will be glitter and lots of it
- Expect some form of ‘drama’
- Everyone will wear pink dressing gowns
- Everyone will have ‘mermaid hair’
- The 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Is Canceled
- The 2019 Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been canceled. It was only a matter of time.
- Victoria’s Secret cancels annual fashion show as sales fall and viewers switch off
While those responsible for casting the Victoria’s Secret show probably already have a fairly good idea about who they want to appear on the catwalk, they still go through the theatre of holding castings, as with any other fashion show – which they often release video footage of. This means that several weeks prior to the show, you’ll have a parade of models photographed arriving at the Victoria’s Secret HQ in New York, giving us a pretty good indication of who might be appearing (although it’s not always guaranteed; Hailey Baldwin was spotted turning up for a casting last year but didn’t ever make the final line-up, as was Gigi Hadid who was later forced to pull out). At 2017’s casting, they gave each of the models a pair of huge feathered wings to leave with, just to make sure people really noticed them.
The models will then take to Instagram to express their delight at being selected for this year’s show.
View this post on Instagram
IM BACK B*****s💃🏻 Here’s some of my favorite looks on the most fun runway ever❤️ Excited to be back and let’s make 2018 the best one yet @victoriassecret
A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn) on Sep 8, 2018 at 7:34am PDT
View this post on Instagram
Wooowww!! Im speechless. So happy to share the news with you all that i’ll be walking the Victoria’s Secret fashion show this year. Thank you @victoriassecret for making my dream come true!! ♥️ @ed_razek @10magazine @monica.mitro @johndavidpfeiffer
A post shared by Barbara Palvin (@realbarbarapalvin) on Sep 7, 2018 at 12:57pm PDT
The show generally features a mix of seasoned Angels, high-profile names and a fortunate batch of newcomers or lesser-known faces.
Samir HusseinGetty Images Related Story
Many of the world’s most successful models have appeared on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk at some point in their career, including Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Helena Christensen and Miranda Kerr.
The location of the Victoria’s Secret show changes frequently; in 2018 it took place in New York. It’s previously been held everywhere from London and Paris to Miami, Shanghai and LA.
The 2016 Paris show venue Getty Images
All the models will then travel to the location together via a VS private jet providing many an Instagram opportunity.
The Angels boarding their plane to London in 2014 Getty Images
Often less is more when it comes to the VS show, with models typically showcasing little more than lingerie, heels and a pair of wings. There are always ‘themes’, like ‘sexy sportswear’ or ‘sexy nightwear’ or ‘sexy fairyland nymphs’ – and, despite the theatrical and often playful costumes, the underwear always takes centre stage (of course, let’s not forget the entire point of this is to sell knickers).
In 2017 the brand collaborated with Balmain on some one-off looks for the show, marking the first time that VS had teamed up with a high-fashion brand to produce pieces that will actually be made for retail. In 2018, this was followed by a collaboration with London Fashion Week favourite Mary Katrantzou.
“Everything that Victoria’s Secret creates is about a woman feeling confident and empowered — and also having fun with what she is wearing,” Katrantzou said of the partnership. “This collaboration is going to be bold, fun and playful.”
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Sneak peek 👀 @victoriassecret 💙 #VSxMaryKatrantzou Models @josephineskriver @jastookes @alexinagraham @yasminwijnaldum
A post shared by Mary Katrantzou (@marykatrantzou) on Oct 25, 2018 at 4:25am PDT
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Mary Katrantzou (@marykatrantzou) on Oct 22, 2018 at 7:51am PDT
There’s also always one lucky Angel chosen to be the wearer of the ‘Fantasy Bra’, an ornate piece of underwear covered in eye-wateringly expensive diamonds and gemstones, usually produced by a luxury jewellery house.
Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima in fantasy bras – Getty
When an Angel is chosen to wear said bra, then it means she’s a big deal – previous names to be bestowed with the accolade include Jasmine Tookes, Lily Aldridge, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. In 2017, Lais Ribeiro was the lucky girl – and was more than a little excited about being chosen.
In 2018 the Fantasy Bra was designed by Atelier Swarovski and modelled by Elsa Hosk. The Swedish model was made an official Angel in 2015 and has walked in the show since 2011.
Courtesy of Victoria’s Secret
The bejewelled bra was adorned with more than 2,100 Swarovski diamonds and was valued at $1 million. It took over 930 hours to create and has over 71 carats in the centre piece.
For the first time ever, customers were able to purchase a version of the fantasy bra (made with real Swarovski crystals), which retailed for $250 (about £205).
Every year the models are joined by some of the biggest names in music, who provide the soundtrack to each section of the show. For 2018, performers included Bebe Rexha, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Kelsea Ballerini, Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes and The Struts.
Other stars to have performed in previous years include Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Rihanna.
Taylor Swift with Karlie Kloss in 2014 Getty Images
There will be glitter and lots of it
Whether backstage, on the catwalk or at the after-party, Victoria’s Secret would be nothing without its unimaginable levels of pink and silver glitter. It’s basically a larger-scale version of Paris Hilton’s birthday party.
Expect some form of ‘drama’
Remember the time Ariana Grande nearly got knocked out by Elsa Hosk’s furry wings? Or the alleged ‘awkwardness’ between then-exes Bella Hadid and The Weeknd? Or when Yolanda Hadid posted that controversial childhood shot of nude Bella and Gigi in angel wings? Or when Jourdan Dunn described the brand as “BS” after she wasn’t asked to return to the catwalk? Or when Cara Delevingne dismissed allegations she had been banned from the show because she was “too fat?” Another VS show calls for another round of drama.
Ariana Grande and Elsa Hosk in 2014 – Getty Images
Everyone will wear pink dressing gowns
The mastermind behind this marketing gem is unknown, but one of the most distinguishable markers of the VS show is its pink dressing gowns, worn by the models backstage prior to the event. These satin robes are sold online for around £45.
Everyone will have ‘mermaid hair’
Victoria’s Secret is not one to push boundaries when it comes to its beauty. The favoured look of recent years? Fluttery lashes and long beachy waves. Today, you’d be hard-pushed to find a VS Angel with short cropped hair or any more alternative style.
The 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Is Canceled
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
For two decades, Victoria’s Secret has sponsored a fashion show.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Iconic.
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: The wings.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Successful.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Confident women.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Really powerful young women.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Tyra Banks. Heidi Klum.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Gisele Bundchen.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Adriana.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Helena Christensen.
INSKEEP: Now the event is no more. The retailer’s parent company has canceled the show ahead of the holiday season, saying it’s time to evolve.
SARAH SPELLINGS: This is the only fashion show that was a true TV spectacle, kind of like a major football game.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Sarah Spellings writes for The Cut. She says that the Victoria’s Secret show was central to the company’s brand.
SPELLINGS: If they continue to not have the show and the show never comes back, I think they have the risk of losing their position as the No. 1 aspirational intimate apparel brand for young women in America.
MARTIN: Critics said the show did a bad job of illustrating body diversity and that they were guilty of objectifying beauty. Spelling says response to the cancellation has been generally positive.
SPELLINGS: It’s like, OK, this is a tradition that we no longer need to have.
INSKEEP: Although she says this does not automatically mean an end to the brand.
SPELLINGS: A lot of people wear and shop at Victoria’s Secret. So this is a big blow to Victoria’s Secret, but I’m wary of suggesting that it is a symbol of the demise of Victoria’s Secret.
MARTIN: The cancellation comes just months after a blast of bad publicity. The parent company’s CEO was criticized for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the money manager tied to the serial abuse of women and girls.
(SOUNDBITE OF WINTER CHILLOUT PARTY MUSIC CLUB’S “SENSUAL WALKING”)
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The Victoria’s Secret fashion show, an annual spectacle of glitter, cleavage and pop music, will no longer air on network television after a nearly two-decade run.
The announcement was made in a Friday memo to the chain’s associates from Leslie Wexner, the chief executive of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands. Mr. Wexner said that the company had been “taking a fresh look at every aspect of our business” in the past few months, and noted that the brand “must evolve and change to grow.”
“With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” he wrote. “Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.” He said the company would develop “a new kind of event” on different platforms in the future, though he gave no further details.
The decision comes as Victoria’s Secret, the largest lingerie company in the United States, works to revamp its image and as interest in the once-major TV event has plummeted. The show first aired in 2001 with an hourlong special on ABC. It attracted millions of viewers who tuned in to watch the brand’s supermodels strut runways in six-inch heels, crystal-encrusted lingerie and massive wings, with musical performances from megastars like Taylor Swift, the Spice Girls and Lady Gaga. Some decried the show and criticized it for objectifying women. But many viewed the event as a stroke of marketing genius — a commercial for the Victoria’s Secret brand packaged as a prime-time special.
The 2019 Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been canceled. It was only a matter of time.
The Victoria’s Secret fashion show is no more.
L Brands, the lingerie retailer’s parent company, announced on a quarterly earnings call on Thursday that it would cancel the 2019 show in an effort to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret.
Ratings for the show have declined in recent years, and in May, CEO Les Wexner told employees in an internal memo that the company has “decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret fashion show,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Going forward, we don’t believe network television is the right fit,” Wexner said, adding that the company would divert its focus toward digital marketing. He hoped to deliver “exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event — delivered to our customers on platforms that she’s glued to,” according to Columbia Business First.
(Wexner’s ties to now-deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein have come under scrutiny since Epstein’s arrest in July. A New York Times report published later that month revealed how Epstein posed as a Victoria’s Secret talent scout in 1997 to lure model Alicia Arden to his hotel room.)
On Thursday, CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer told analysts the company hasn’t seen a significant response in short-term sales to the airing of the fashion show, Fortune reported.
Since 1995, the show has served as a marketing stunt for Victoria’s Secret — a wildly expensive event that, in 2016, cost the company $20 million. In its nearly two-and-a-half-decade run, the annual show made its mark as a major pop culture event, but as Victoria’s Secret struggles to maintain a hold on the lingerie market, the show’s marketing significance has waned.
Victoria’s Secret is still the leading lingerie brand in the US, valued at $13.1 billion with a 24 percent market share. (That number has sunk from 31.7 percent in 2013.) But its sales are still declining: L Brands said on Thursday that the retailer’s sales dropped 7 percent during the latest quarter compared with the same period last year.
The brand’s hypersexualized portrayal of women doesn’t appear to resonate with modern customers as strongly as it once did. Shoppers today tend to look for inclusive sizing, comfort, and a brand identity rooted in female empowerment.
According to a 2019 report by Coresight Research, digital native brands are rising to compete in this space, with startups like Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty, ThirdLove, and Aerie. (Bra startup ThirdLove has successfully marketed itself as inclusive and empowering — the “antithesis of Victoria’s Secret” — but employees have told Vox that, internally, company executives fail to believe in this message, asking workers to feature less diverse models.)
Lingerie customers also care more about comfort and fit than sexiness when it comes to their buying decisions, according to the report. It could be, as Vox’s Rebecca Jennings wrote in 2018 on the irrelevance of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, “Victoria’s Secret may no longer be seen as the arbiter of sexiness it once was.”
In its nearly two-and-a-half-decade run, the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show made its mark as a major pop culture event. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret
This could be because women are prioritizing comfort and functionality, or they’re just not interested in upholding the narrow standards of beauty and sexiness that Victoria’s Secret is associated with.
When Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977, there were few accessible lingerie stores in the US. There was a gap in the market between luxury and basic brands, and when Wexner bought the stores in 1982, he positioned Victoria’s Secret to fill that gap.
The brand’s first fashion show, held at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1995, was a relatively small production. Only two cameras were present: one for long shots and one for close-ups. L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek recalled that it was hailed as “the lingerie event of the century,” and Victoria’s Secret decided to produce another the following year.
It wasn’t until 1999 that national audiences could tune in online. In 2001, Victoria’s Secret moved the show to early December to market ahead of the holiday season and aired it on television for the first time, attracting more than 12 million viewers.
The show has been criticized for having a poor record on inclusion in its 24-year existence. (Its first model of Asian descent wasn’t cast until 2009.) But Victoria’s Secret has, as reported by Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos in 2018, actually been something of an industry leader in racial diversity recently and has helped boost its models’ careers.
According to a source in Victoria’s Secret’s casting department whom Abad-Santos spoke with on background, the percentage of nonwhite models — of the 60 or so women who are chosen to wear the show’s 90 looks — has been at least 40 percent for the past two years.
Abad-Santos also noted that in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Victoria’s Secret hired models who wouldn’t have been considered by other high-fashion brands because of their size: “Victoria’s Secret has shown itself to have the power to change industry norms, and frustration often arises because its critics see the company not harnessing that power to effect change.”
In an interview with Vogue last year, Razek controversially defended the brand’s decision to not feature plus-sized or transgender models, which he later apologized for.
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM
— Victoria’s Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018
Razek maintained that he cares about diversity and size inclusion, but ultimately can’t keep up with people’s demands. “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.”
For years, executives like Razek seemed convinced that Victoria’s Secret’s sales power was inextricably linked with this fantasy. Despite declining sales, the retailer has stubbornly refused to change its marketing approach — until now.
Lingerie trends are changing and customers are being courted by a variety of online sellers and startups. Victoria’s Secret is apparently now realizing that a one-of-a-kind fashion show — featuring a cast of unrealistically thin beautiful women in expensive lingerie — may no longer be the way to win over shoppers.
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Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show canceled
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been canceled, according to Shanina Shaik.
Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm is speaking out about the intense pressure she once faced in the industry.
The Australian model, 27, who is recovering from severe anorexia, now claims the fashion business supports healthy lifestyles for women, but a recent social media post reveals this hasn’t always been the case.
Earlier this week, the model posted on Instagram two pictures of herself at the height of her eating disorder, along with a second pair of photos showcasing her current, healthier self. In the post’s caption, Malcolm described the harsh treatment she’s received from clients as she suffered from anorexia, and revealed she’d been fired for adding only half an inch to her waist.
VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL BRIDGET MALCOLM OPENS UP ABOUT ‘AWFUL DAYS’ AND ‘FAKING IT’ FOR INSTAGRAM
“This was me, a few weeks after I got rejected from a high profile client. And now. Strong and happy,” she wrote. “The reason for my rejection was ‘Bridget’s body does not look good enough.’ The girl in these photos hadn’t had a period in months, and needed to sleep 12 hours a night in order to function. The most messed up part of all this though, is that I had been accepted by this client when I was half an inch smaller in previous years.”
VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL BRIDGET MALCOLM SAYS SHE WAS ONCE FORCED TO POSE NUDE FOR A MAGAZINE
While Malcolm didn’t get specific about who fired her, she remains positive about the future of the modeling industry, and expressed confidence about her current body image.
“I am so thankful that all this is behind me. It has taken a lot of work and recovery, but I am so grateful that there is a place in the industry for me now, at my healthy weight,” Malcolm continued. “I am proud to be working today with people who support health in women.”
VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL BRIDGET MALCOLM: I WAS DISCOVERED AT AGE 14 WITH BRACES
In an additional blog post on Tuesday, Malcolm elaborated on her journey toward a healthier modeling life, saying she is now “free from food fear.”
“I am very happy to say that my body has reached its natural set point. For the last year, my weight has not fluctuated significantly,” she revealed on her blog. “I know that for a lot of people, this is not a big deal. But I have spent the last 14 years attempting to get as small as I can, and then dealt with the mental fall out when I would inevitably gain all the weight back, and then some. I can honestly say that I am now free to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. And what I see in the mirror doesn’t change dramatically.”
VICTORIA’S SECRET REPORTEDLY HIRES FIRST-EVER TRANSGENDER MODEL
Throughout the blog post, Malcolm discussed her struggle to maintain a hip size of 35 inches or under, and how she’s promised herself to only return to modeling work if she was free to keep a healthy lifestyle.
“This year I made myself an agreement. I would return to full time modeling work, if, and only if, I was able to maintain my weight,” Malcolm wrote. “If I was able to be free to eat healthily, work out, and do the job that I love, then I would continue. My health is my utmost priority.”
“And I am extremely excited to say that I have had loveliest year of work thus far into my career,” she continued. “My wonderful agent has made it a point to send me to sets where I am welcome at my healthiest. And these sets have been only loving and kind towards me. I find myself doing fittings with clothes my size, and if the clothes are too small, alterations are made sans comments about my size. This to me shows that part of the fashion industry is truly changing.”
In 7th grade, the kind of underwear you wore mattered. I knew because I didn’t have the right kind. My underpants were white cotton with light pink trim; my mom bought them in plastic packs of six at Kohl’s or Walmart. The correct kind of of underwear was brightly striped, sat low on your hips, and came from “Vicky’s.”
Vicky’s was what the popular girls at my school called Victoria’s Secret, as if they were so familiar with the brand that they couldn’t be bothered to say the whole name. I couldn’t ask anyone for fear of looking shamefully ignorant, so it took me ages to figure out that “Vicky’s” was just a nickname for the aggressively pink mall store where you could buy bikini underwear to show off while changing for gym.
Victoria’s Secret just announced they will close 53 stores in the United States this year. Last year, they closed 30 stores. Things are not going well for the company. And while it’s been 20 years since underpants were a social status marker in my middle school locker room, the 13-year-old in my heart is grinning at this news, her braces glinting in the sun. Spring has come, my friends, and the icy grip Victoria’s Secret has had on the lingerie industry is loosening.
It’s about time. Victoria’s Secret is the retail embodiment of the idea that things must evolve or die. Sales have fallen drastically in the past two years, and Jan Singer, Victoria’s Secret CEO, has recently resigned. This winter, the televised 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show drew the lowest ratings in its history. And before the show aired, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, had a chat with Vogue. During the interview, he made it clear that VS only wants thin, cisgender people buying their overpriced, badly made scraps of elasticized lace. When talking about being asked by consumers to add more sizes to the limited size range at VS, as well as cast more diverse models in the fashion show, he said, “So it’s like, why don’t you do 50? Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
Whoops. Social media exploded over this comment. A dinosaur comment, made by a 70-year-old male marketing executive, about what his consumer base wants— wait a minute. What, in fact, did he know about what shoppers want? Why was this man in charge of what was being sold in lingerie stores?
Evolve or die, Victoria’s Secret. The company’s airbrushed, ultra-thin models have been defining what is thought of as “sexy” for women for decades, but society is changing. Rapidly. New lingerie brands, such as Aerie, ThirdLove, and Everlane have more sizes. Tons of sizes. These brands focus on comfort and fit. They advertise with pictures of un-airbrushed, non-professional models wearing their bras. Lingerie brand TomboyX makes undergarments for all genders and sizes, and their Instagram is incredibly inclusive (and hot!) In September, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line sent a very pregnant model down the catwalk in pasties and a body cage. She looked… fantastic. All of these lingerie brands are thriving.
It’s clear that consumers want to see themselves reflected in the clothing they see advertised. It’s also clear that fit and comfort is important (take that, Victoria’s Secret underwire bras that never, ever fit, and also dig in all the wrong places, all day.) If it takes massive store closures to teach old executives that the game is changing, so be it.
Lingerie customers always have, and always will, want to feel and look sexy. There is a better way to make that happen, and we’re watching it unfold right now. Companies should make the products consumers want to buy. Inclusivity is important. And no one—absolutely no one— should have to smell Victoria’s Secret Eau So Sexy Fragrance Mist wafting in cotton candy-scented clouds off teenagers at the mall.
THEY may be some of the most photographed women in the world, but even Victoria’s Secret models can’t resist getting a cheeky selfie or two.
As the Angel squad flocked to Miami beach for a titillating photoshoot dressed all in white, fans of the models were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be one of them.
8 Romee Strijd looked stunning as she waited for the shoot to begin
As they waited in their trailers for the shoot to start, the girls got together and took photos of each other in their lacy underwear being used for today’s campaign shoot.
Elsa Hosk, Josephine Skriver and Jasmine Tookes led the Victoria’s Secret angel squad for a day of shooting on the Florida beach for the lingerie brand’s latest campaign.
8 Elsa has been teasing fans with saucy underwear pics for the past few days 8 She posed with pal Josephine Skriver, captioning the shot ‘Miami with my fav bum’Credit: Xposure
All wearing white, the stunning stars looked angelic as they spent the day taking photographs in the scorching Florida sun.
Newcomer Romee Strijd, 21, looked every inch the beach bum as she walked around in a crisp white thong that showed off her killer pins and peachy bum.
She later donned shades for a photoshoot of her own while she waited to be called to set.
8 Jamine and Josephine looked ready for the summer as they spent time together in Miami
Elsa, 28, had been teasing fans with what was to come over the past few days – showing her in a Miami garden as she posed in her lacy knickers for her social media followers.
She also nearly bared all in a sexy mirror selfie in her bathroom – as well as showing off her bum in a arty pic taken at home.
Yet she came over all shy in a tender photo taken of her curled up on a wall in the lacy bra and pants set she was wearing.
8 Lais Ribeiro posed for a smouldering selfie while not needed on set
Jasmine Tookes – who wore the iconic $3million Fantasy Bra at the 2016 Victoria’s Secret fashion show in December – was given a pair of French knickers that showed off her bum and was tied with a delicate lace at the top.
Proving to be leader potential of the squad, Jasmine introduced the groups Insta moments on the beach and also posed in a series of stylish selfies – including one with Josephine Skriver as the channelled their inner rock-chicks in aviator shades.
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Danish model Josephine Skriver, who had showed off her shapely behind in a picture with Elsa just yesterday, looked stunning as she smouldered to the camera in a white sheer all-in-one outfit adorned with intricate stitching to hide her nipples.
Josephine wore an outfit adorned with 450,000 Swarovski crystals back in the 2016 Fashion show – the second most expensive outfit of the evening.
8 Stella showed off her peachy bum for an Insta snap
Stella Maxwell, Taylor Hill and Lais Ribeiro rounded off the beautiful group as they all huddled together for a series of alluring group shots.
Stella, who is rumoured to be dating actress Kristen Stewart, turned heads at the centre of the squad’s group photo.
But she made sure she took a photo were she was the star attraction and bared her bum for her Instagram followers.
8 The stunning trio smouldered for a selfie in their trailersCredit: Instagram
She was a prominent figure in December’s advent calendar for Love Magazine, taking on a series of raunchy iconic cinema roles.
In one, she took on Margot Robbie’s character from The Wolf of Wall Street, teasing the audience with her legs spread wide open and just out of shot.
8 Jasmine Tookes treated fans to a beach selfie during takes for the new VS campaignCredit: Instagram
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Victoria’s Secret cancels annual fashion show as sales fall and viewers switch off
The annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, known for its jewel-encrusted bras and supermodels sporting angel wings, will not be held this holiday season, the lingerie company’s owner, L Brands, has said.
Official confirmation of the decision comes months after the Australian Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik told the Daily Telegraph it would not be going ahead.
Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr and Gigi Hadid have all appeared in the televised event, but ratings had been dwindling – the 2018 show attracted only 3.3 million viewers in the United States, the lowest figure since its inception, in 1995 – and the show had been accused of being sexist and outdated and of lacking diversity.
The brand was once the destination for all things lingerie, but it has been losing customers as more women shift to cheaper bralettes and sports bras from companies like the pop singer Rihanna’s lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, which has promoted body positivity by using models of all shapes, sizes and colours. More than 50 Victoria’s Secret stores are set to close in the United States this year.
Savage x Fenty: Rihanna’s lingerie line uses models of all shapes, sizes and colours. Photograph: Rebecca Smeyne/NYT
Victoria’s Secret has also faced a series of controversies. L Brands’ chief executive, Leslie Wexler, has come under scrutiny for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who killed himself in jail in August after being charged with sex trafficking.
That month also saw the stepping down of Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, who had told Vogue magazine, in a controversial interview in 2018, that the brand would not cast transgender or plus-sized models, “because the show is a fantasy”. When his retirement was announced, Victoria’s Secret cast its first transgender model.
Earlier this year another former Victoria’s Secret model, Karlie Kloss, explained that she had stopped working with the brand because “I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.” She told British Vogue that leaving the brand was “a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist”.– Reuters, PA