Victoria’s Secret announces return of fashion show

The infamous runway event is back, but can it truly reinvent itself?

Last week, via Instagram, lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret announced the return of its iconic fashion show. Set to air this autumn, the brand promises to “reflect who we are today plus the glamour, runway, wings and musical entertainment”.

This announcement has created a buzz online, but after last year’s badly-received attempt at the show’s revival, the internet is doubtful that it can make a true comeback. 

Ex-employee from the Bond Street flagship store, Phoebe Ward said: “I think the shows were aimed to make women feel powerful and strong, however I think that wasn’t successful because only 1% of the world looks like the women walking the catwalks. When they bring the show back then I hope they will take notes from shows like Fenty and be more inclusive as a whole.” 

The brand staged a return to the public eye last year after a four year hiatus due to criticisms of cultural appropriation, over-sexualisation and unrealistic beauty standards. Victoria’s Secret: The Tour 23 explored 20 artists worldwide who were making garments and lingerie for the show. It featured Naomi Campbell, Adwoa Aboah, Hailey Bieber among other celebrities.

The show was not well received with a rating of 2.3/10 on IMDb and many Twitter users calling it a “slap in the face”. Website Fashionista asked; “what does it really accomplish?”

Despite this, in October last year, the brand completely stepped out of its comfort zone by launching its first adaptive range of lingerie, made to aid people with physical and sensory disabilities. This release was received well, with many videos of the range going viral online.

These products also received the GAMUT seal of approval, certifying that people with disabilities have been included in the development and marketing processes. Additionally, the brand has started to stock post-surgery bras, including mastectomy bras with pockets intended to hold prosthetic inserts. 

Victoria’s Secret president, Greg Unis, told CNN in 2023 that “sexiness can be inclusive and can celebrate the diverse experiences of our customers, and that’s what we’re focused on.” He also said in the interview that the goal has always been to bring back the show in a new form. 

With ‘Victoria’s Secret Angel Makeup’ going viral on Tiktok and Instagram reels and renditions of Victoria’s Secret Halloween costumes coming back in the past year, the appeal of the brand aesthetic, even now, is not going away. Makeup tutorial videos by Mirta Miler, Petek Alemdar and Rebecca Scarrott, amongst others, have all received over one million likes on Tiktok and countless recreations. 

Ruby Beaman, 20-year-old fashion enthusiast said she hoped the new show will be inclusive, with healthy looking models, and the same aesthetics of the brand. She would like it to be: “Bringing back the classic VS look of shimmer, pinks, stripes and diamantés, but at the same time bringing in some new styles and shapes of garments. Keeping the show fresh for today, but having the same feel, making it nostalgic for the old 2010s audiences.”

Romee Strijd, an ex-angel for the brand, said in a 2021 interview with Robbert Rodenburg, that “companies now, after criticism, only work with plus size models… Right now I am in between, so you either have traditional model sizes and you do the shows, or I could gain a little bit more weight to try and be a plus size model, there is no in between.”

The general consensus is clearly hopes for more inclusivity but with the same glitz and glamour of the old shows, but can the brand make this happen?

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