It’s the end of an era for Victoria’s Secret.
After months of speculation, VS parent L Brands confirmed that a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will not be held this year.
“We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret,” said Stuart B. Burgdoerfer, CFO and EVP of L Brands, in a conference call. “[The show] was a very important part of the brand building of this business and was an important aspect of the brand and a remarkable marketing achievement. And with that said, we’re figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers.”
Since the summer, multiple Victoria’s Secret models, such as Devon Windsor and Shanina Shaik, have told reporters that the Victoria’s Secret show is canceled this year.
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Rumblings of a cancellation began in May, when L Brand founder and chairman Leslie Wexner told reporters the VSFS wouldn’t air on network television this year, explaining that the company’s executives “don’t believe network television is the right fit” anymore.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been held for 23 consecutive years, catapulting the careers of models like Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima and Miranda Kerr. Boldface names of the music industry, such as Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and Selena Gomez, have performed at the show, which had been broadcast annually on television since 2001.
In recent years, ratings for the VSFS have waned, and the event was dogged by controversy over its lack of inclusivity on the runway. In November of last year, Ed Razek, L Brands chief marketing officer, said he didn’t think transgender models should appear in the show.
“I don’t think we should,” he said, adding, “The show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us.”
Amid Victoria’s Secret’s struggles, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty label has garnered major buzz (and sales) for its size- and color-inclusive lingerie offerings. Rihanna held a blowout fashion show in New York this September, which was made available on Amazon Prime. The show starred supermodels like Gigi and Bella Hadid and Cara Delevingne, with performances by Big Sean, Halsey, Migos and more.
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