What Happened to the Victoria’s Secret Models?
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The Victoria’s Secret Models have been AWOL of late, as has the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. And if recent news stories are to be believed, they’re not coming back any time soon.
So what happened to this once hugely popular and sought-after brand, and where have the Angels gone?
VS As We Knew It
Victoria’s Secret is going through a huge transition. For years, we have come to expect a certain standard not only from their models but from their shows. They were once the US’s biggest lingerie retailer. But over the past few years, things have taken a dive for the once-popular brand. Their lingerie doesn’t seem to fit or suit anyone who isn’t tiny like their models. Their lack of diversity can no longer be overlooked. The likes of Rihanna’s brand, Savage X Fenty, have brought variety, equality and body positivity to the forefront of their campaigns, making Victoria’s Secret look outdated and irrelevant.
After facing near bankruptcy, the brand was left with no choice but to rebrand. They have decided to do a complete 180 and change nearly everything about their marketing approach. This means that the Victoria’s Secret Angels are no more. The “Fantasy Bra”, an expensive and often jewel-encrusted bra that would be redesigned each year and worn at the yearly fashion show by the model of the moment, is also gone.
But what are they replacing it with?
The Angels Are Out
The Victoria’s Secret models, known as “Angels”, are out, and in their place are activists and entrepreneurs known as the “VS Collective” that the brand is hoping will inspire the public. Amongst them are Megan Rapinoe, a football player and gender equality campaigner, size 14 model Paloma Elsesseras who appeared on the cover of Vogue, as well as Priyanka Chopra, an Indian actress and tech investor.
Their job is to redefine “sexy” to reflect today’s understanding of the term. We no longer want to see tall, slender models whose body types are impossible for the majority of us to ever achieve. Instead, the public wants to see obtainable, achievable beauty that is more to do with what’s inside us more than what we look like on the outside. As their chief executive said, “Victoria’s Secret wants to be a global advocate for female empowerment.”
But it’s not going to be an easy turnaround for the company. They have a lot of minds and opinions to change, not least because of their infamous connection with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as well as news about their misogynistic corporate culture (which includes stories of in-office transphobia and sexual harassment) – not to mention their previously sexist and male-centric viewpoint as a brand.
What’s Next for VS?
When times started to change, Victoria’s Secret dug their heels in and refused to change along with it. Now, they’re scrambling to catch up with forward-thinking and inclusive brands. But will it work, or have the public moved on?
In terms of changes, there are more women in charge of the brand. The fashion show is gone, as are their well-known supermodels. They plan to hire a more inclusive, diverse range of models and people to front the brand. The stores are expecting a huge rebrand, with larger/curvier mannequins (who were traditionally a 32B) and a phase-out of the old Angels imagery. They plan to expand their products to include more than just thongs and g-strings, with a particular focus on sportswear.
But is this enough to inspire and entice the public to start spending with them again?
Where Does That Leave Their Models?
It looks like the traditional “sexy” supermodels that used to front Victoria’s Secret will have to find work elsewhere. However, it’s great news for models who did not previously meet the strict standards expected by VS. We can already see a difference with the models they are now hiring, which include Valentina Sampaio, the brand’s first Brazilian trans model, and size 14 plus-size activist Paloma Elsesser.
And media outlets seem fairly positive about the new turnaround. It’s clear that a lot of riding on this rebrand.
So is Victoria’s Secret on its way to making a comeback? Or is it too little, too late? Let us know what you think in the comments below!