The Victoria’s Secret show is cancelled
The social climate of the world is evolving, and the people behind the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show seem to have realized that the place for their once infamous, televised night focused on supermodels showcasing their lingerie line, has come to a close for good.
Victoria’s Secret (VS) has faced a myriad of criticisms over the past few years, notably last November when executive Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, said in an interview with Vogue that the fashion show would never include plus-sized or transgender models “because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
One half-baked apology from Razek and a sheepish step-down from the company a year later, and VS has been left at a crossroads with where or how they should progress with their brand next.
When questioned about whether or not the show would air this holiday season, VS 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.”
Inclusivity has been a running contention with lingerie companies and the overall lack of model diversity and range in sizes and prices in the industry’s products has become increasingly scrutinized by consumers — especially with the growth of social media and online marketing campaigns.
Whenever I watched the VS Fashion Show, I never viewed it as a real representation of how the average woman looks. It was a near-fictional half hour of unattainable beauty presented and curated by predominantly male industry workers.
And it has been repeated again and again by the models themselves that they don’t look the way they do on the runway year-round.
It would be an unattainable lifestyle and unrealistic physical ideal to strive for, for one, given the level of commitment they dedicate to regimented eating and exercise routines weeks before they filmed the annual program. Additionally, they were hand-picked to work the show based on very specific, narrow requirements based solely on their appearance.
For me personally, walking into a VS store can be an intimidating and dually underwhelming experience.
Apple-cheeked models with Chiclet-white teeth, mile-long legs and toned, blemishless bodies blankly staring at customers while wearing what look like deceivingly high-quality bras and panties in comparison to the jumbled bundles of underwear and bralettes that are scattered in sections across the “showroom” floor, can be off-putting when all you want to do is buy a new bra that looks good on your body and is comfortable to wear.
American Eagle’s sister company, Aerie, has been praised for the complete opposite approach they’ve applied to their advertising and brand promotions.
They don’t photoshop their models, and through their #AerieReal campaign, have worked to promote the true diversity of women’s bodies.
When Aerie featured a type 1 diabetic model wearing an insulin pump, and it wasn’t the focus of the image, it was merely presented as a normal part of who the model was. I was taken aback to see this done. It never occurred to me that it was possible to have something that I felt ashamed of, especially in relation to being or feeling “sexy,” advertised in such a positive way.
With companies like Savage X, Fenty and Lounge following suit with their marketing techniques that include more than what has been deemed the “standard” of beauty and what is and isn’t sexy — the space for what VS is known for is quickly becoming limited.
A “fantasy” can be whatever you want it to be, and it shouldn’t be curated by men who simpy want to gain views by putting a million dollar bra on one type of body.
Victoria’s Secret is likely going to fade into the background of irrelevance given the lack of direction that the company has left to go in.
With products that aren’t that great to begin with and the history of the company’s conception rooted in the founder feeling embarrassed to buy his wife lingerie, I think it’s time for an upgrade to their corporate identity.
The world of fashion shouldn’t be limited to VS models alone, and given the growing disinterest in their products, it’s time for a progressive change.