Victoria’s Secret announces the return of its annual fashion show

Four years after the cancellation of its legendary Victoria’s Secret fashion show, marked by various controversies, the famous lingerie brand has announced the return of its annual catwalk show with a new format, more inclusive, artistic and based on a vision of beauty more in the rooted in reality.

Gone are the tall, slender and perfectly fit angels, replaced by a collective of models from diverse backgrounds. They’ll star in a live broadcast of a fashion extravaganza this fall to win over an audience divided between excitement and skepticism.

For more than 20 years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show enlivened the world of fashion and lingerie in particular, before being overthrown by the many controversies that tarnished the brand’s image. The last edition in 2018, before the show was finally canceled, saw viewership drop to 3.2 million viewers, down from more than nine million four years earlier. The cause? A slew of controversies, a lack of inclusivity in the show’s cast — if not a total absence — and one notable competitor who was way ahead in terms of diversity — Savage x Fenty, Rihanna’s brand, which only launched in 2018.

The downfall of a once legendary show

First staged in 1995, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show soon found a following due to its grandiose nature, but also due to its tall, slim and perfectly trained models, including Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, Cindy Bruna . Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner to name a few. A cast that was well received, at least initially, but ended up being viewed in a dim light for espousing an ideal of beauty far removed from reality, not to mention an outdated, objectified view of women. Despite increased societal awareness fueled by various movements, including body positivity, the Victoria’s Secret brand stayed its course, eventually drawing the scorn of an audience that instead embraced the more diverse bodies, sizes and cuts of the new Rihanna-founded brands brand turned. This represented a first notable setback for the lingerie giant, which subsequently found itself at the center of various controversies.

The arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, who has been accused of multiple sexual assaults, put Victoria’s Secret in the spotlight as the financier had close ties to Leslie Wexner, head of Limited Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company at the time. This was a major blow to the lingerie giant, which was forced to re-evaluate. But the brand didn’t give up even in the midst of the turmoil, opting for a complete fresh start. These have included, for example, a renewal of the people at the helm of the brand, a more realistic casting of models and the launch of more diverse collections, despite suspicion and criticism from an audience that has proven not particularly receptive to these sudden changes.

The beginning of a new era?

Victoria’s Secret has been rethinking for a few years. For most people, this began with the replacement of the iconic angels with women from all walks of life — artists, athletes, activists, models — with all sorts of body shapes and backgrounds, not to mention the angels’ recruitment in 2019’s first transgender model of the Brand, Valentina Sampaio. The brand’s collective of ambassadors have since welcomed Megan Rapinoe, Paloma Elsesser and Sofía Jirau, showing its willingness to respond to consumer desires while restoring its image. The same goes for the brand’s collections, which are now more comprehensive, with maternity and prosthetic bras for example, but also come in a much wider range of cuts and sizes.

The new concept of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will be the culmination of this program of radical change and will determine whether the brand has really managed to refresh its image. The Victoria’s Secret World Tour will take the form of a feature-length film showcasing the behind-the-scenes stories of VS20, “a group of 20 innovative global creatives representing four fashion curators from the vibrant cities of Bogota, Lagos, London and Tokyo.” The overarching The aim now is to “promote the voices, perspectives and experiences of women”, in contrast to the image of objectified women once embodied by the “Victoria’s Secret Angels”, who sport wings fastened on their backs and skimpy clothing walked the runway to showcase the brand’s ultra-sexy collections.

“This film is the ultimate expression of Victoria’s Secret’s brand transformation. It will be about fashion, glamor and entertainment, with a nod to popular iconography from the past but in a bold, redefined way. We are honored to offer our platform and have it explored through the lens and artistry of global creatives who celebrate the individuality of women’s stories and perspectives,” said Raúl Martinez, EVP and Head Creative Director at Victoria’s Secret, in a Explanation.

This documentary, which will be broadcast worldwide, will be accompanied by a live fashion event in the fall, according to the brand. News of the show’s return was not met with unanimity on Instagram, where the brand shared news about the new concept. While some users are happy with the return of the annual parade, others question the real rationale behind this change. A handful of users even say they miss the “real” angels that established the brand’s fame before contributing to its downfall.

When Victoria’s Secret announced the return of his show in March, singer Lizzo made her point on Twitter: “This is a victory for inclusivity for inclusivity’s sake.” But when brands start doing it just because they’ve received backlash, what happens then , if the “trends” change again? Do the CEOs of these companies value true inclusivity? Or do they just care about money?” It only remains to be seen what this revamped show has in store for people to make up their own minds on the subject.

[Hero and Featured Images: Courtesy Victoria Secret]

This story will be published via AFP Relaxnews.

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