Skip to main content

erinball
26th March 2023

The return of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Has anything changed?

After four years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show is making a comeback and the internet is divided. We take a look to see if anything has really changed within the business and industry as a whole.
Categories:
TLDR
The return of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Has anything changed?
Photo: Cyril Attias @ Flickr

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is making a comeback after a four-year hiatus and, naturally, the internet is divided. During the 2022 Earnings Call for Victoria’s Secret, the current Chief Financial Officer, Timothy Johnson, announced that they were going to support the “new version of our fashion show, which is going to come later this year.” But what does this even mean?

The show

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show represents the epitome of early 2000s designer shows, with glitz, glamour and the world’s most famous models. Celebrities and public figures attended each year to watch the show, which didn’t just showcase the brand’s designs but also incorporated lavish set designs and award-winning performances from entertainers, thus attracting millions of viewers year after year.

However, the lingerie empire fell in 2019 amid news about ties with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the refusal of the brand to acknowledge the changing nature of the lingerie business, and reports that the leaders of the company were creating a “culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment .”

This culminated in the closing of 53 stores throughout 2019 and the resignation of the chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, and CEO, Lex Wexner. 2019 also saw the cancellation of the fashion show, whose viewership had fallen to around 3.3 million in 2018, from about 5 million the prior year. However, since 2021, the brand has revived its marketing strategy with new owners in an attempt to dominate the lingerie empire as it once did.

The return

Controversy

As aforementioned, the fashion show represented not only early 2000s culture but also its toxic beauty standards. All the show’s models were stereotypically thin girls, and a former Victoria’s Secret employee claimed on the Fallen Angels podcast that Razek often made sexist remarks about women’s bodies. This, paired with the strict weight and body fat requirements, contributed to the toxic environment within the company and gave the message that “you have to be thin to be beautiful.”

Adding to this, Razek caused further controversy when he stated that trans women could not model because they cannot “sell the fantasy.

Ultimately, the show at its core was an idealisation of the toxic and archaic beauty standards society was beginning to reject. Because of this, many people are against its return. On Twitter, users responded to the news by stating that “We don’t want it unless they use plus size models. Four years too late.” and “I don’t think anyone really misses a transphobic fatphobic fashion show atp“. Other users, however, were more positive about the announcement, professing their excitement about the return of the iconic show.

Even Lizzo had a comment about the return of the show. Whilst she expressed excitement about the potential inclusivity, she questioned the integrity of the brand. On her Twitter page, she stated “This is a win for inclusivity for inclusivity’s sake but if brands start doing this only because they’ve received backlash then what happens when the ‘trends’ change again? Do the CEOs of these companies value true inclusivity? Or do they just value money?”

Change

The show will inevitably undergo many changes from when it last aired in 2018. Primarily, the show will no longer feature the ‘angels’ which were synonymous with the brand. Since 2021, the company has abandoned its previous faces of the brand in favour of other public faces. Naomi Osaka and Priyanka Chopra are just some of the famous faces chosen to represent the brand upon its rebranding. It may be that the show will steer away from the traditional high-fashion models who have previously graced the stage in favour of other figures.

Furthermore, given the business’ change of leadership and new market plan, we are likely to see a move towards diversity, potentially inspired by the Savage X Fenty collab which featured models of a range of body sizes, sexualities and genders. In fact, many believe that the collaboration inspired the runway’s return and the new fashion show will be a copy of what Rhianna and her team created.

A final change that people are expecting is a difference in the performers on the runway. Throughout its run, the show featured big names in the entertainment industry, from Taylor Swift to the Weeknd. However, given the business’ negative reputation, any association with the company may draw bad press. However, we will have to wait and see what the layout of the ‘new’ show will be and whether any performers will take the risk of performing.

Overall, the announcement has sparked questions about whether the show will be more inclusive, and whether any efforts towards inclusivity will be sincere or motivated by financial gain. The biggest question, however, asks whether the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will ever be the media phenomenon it once was.


More Coverage

Horticultured: Manchester Fashion Movement brings great clothes to the great outdoors

First Chanel’s Metiers D’Art took place in Manchester last December and now RHS Bridgewater’s Horticultured unfolded in Salford showcasing some fantastic local and sustainable brands

My favourite jeans: Student journalists share their top denim picks

Looking for the perfect jeans? Look no further! Our writers and editors share all their top tips and fave pairs

Celebrity Style Guide #8: Dua Lipa and Callum Turner

We explore the style of up-and-coming couple, musician Dua Lipa and actor Callum Turner, from their day-time outfits to their after-party looks

Glossier: Cult brand or profit machine?

Glossier were famed for their Balm Dotcom and Cloud Paint Blush, but with product prices rising during a cost-of-living crisis will their cult status last?