The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is back. After taking a four-year hiatus, the lingerie catwalk extravaganza – which always featured big model names such as Adriana Lima, Gisele Bündchen, Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, the top-ranking of which were famously named 'Angels' – is returning.
Victoria's Secret CFO Timothy Johnson confirmed in a statement: “We’re going to continue to lean into the marketing spend to invest in the business and also to support the new version of our fashion show, which is to come later this year.”
Johnson also hinted at the show's focus – and that it might be a departure from the superficial glitter and glam of its former guise – saying that it will “reinforce our commitment to championing women’s voices and their unique perspectives”.
The annual show was previously cancelled in 2019 after a decline in sales and poor television ratings, with figures falling from five million in 2018 to 3.3 million in 2019. The brand was also mired in controversy, after the former CEO Les Wexner's close links with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein came to light.
There had also long been concerns over the show's lack of diversity and inclusivity, particularly when compared to Rihanna's Savage X Fenty shows, the first one of which debuted in 2018 and featured models of all sizes, as well as queer, trans and non-binary casting.
The retail giant attempted to rebrand and reinvent itself in 2021, launching the Victoria's Secret Collective and replacing the Angels with ambassadors who were brought on board to inspire change and positivity, and who were not chosen for their looks alone – described as "an ever-growing group of accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change". The brand also launched a number of new charitable partnerships with the aim of supporting the lives of women all over the world.
Users took to Twitter to share their feelings about the return of the VS Fashion Show: "I'll reserve my outrage until we see if they actually have become inclusive or all this just merely performative," one wrote.
I'll reserve my outrage until we see if they actually have become inclusive or all this just merely performative
— Desireé (@GogoLuthando) March 5, 2023
Another user wrote: "Glad it’s coming back but doubt it will be as glamorous."
Glad it’s coming back but doubt it will be as glamorous.
— IG: @fashionising101 (@therealest007) March 5, 2023
Singer Lizzo – who recently launched her own inclusive shapewear line, Yitty – also took to social media to address the news.
"This is a win for inclusivity for inclusivity’s sake," she wrote on Twitter. "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?"
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