Perfect bodies, just the right sculpted abs, slender legs, slender arms, breathtaking faces. The Victoria’s Secret brand has always been synonymous with unattainable beauty. A sensuality from another planet to which mere mortals could only aspire. Maybe wearing that all lace and lace lingerie that the brand has brought on the catwalk for 23 years. Until the problems started. Trouble related to the economic crisis, with the announcement in 2019 of the closure of 53 stores. Trouble related to the #metoo revolution, which gave new life to feminism. And in those days the links between Les Wexner (owner of the group) and the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein did not go unnoticed.
And finally, troubles related to generational changes, due to the fact that the girls of Generation Z were absolutely not reflected in those alien canons. So for four years Victoria’s Secret withdrew from the catwalks and tried to rebuild her image (with difficulty and without great success). You worked behind the scenes. At least so far. Today, in fact, she has decided to get back on track with a mega fashion show scheduled for 2023. According to rumors, the show will be dedicated to inclusiveness without proposing unrealistic ideals of women with the perfect body.
But will she really manage not to bring the usual statuesque beauties on the catwalk? Since the brand was launched in 1995, the angels – i.e. supermodels such as Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, Gigi Hadid – have become an essential part of an inaccessible beauty system. A model out of reach, unattainable, very far from the daily life of workers, mothers, students.
When Australian model Shanina Shaik, then 28, announced to the world that the shows were suspended, she said “unfortunately” there would be no show and that she was “disappointed, because it’s not something I’m used to”.
Maybe he was living in a bubble, because for a couple of years Victoria’s Secret had become a brand to criticize rather than a brand to imitate. In 2018, in an interview with Vogue, the chief marketing officer Ed Razek had ended up in the storm by stating that the angel show was not suitable for the LGBT world. When asked why there were no LGBT or plus-size models on the runway, Razek said that category doesn’t represent the “fantasy” that Victoria’s Secret embodies. “Should we have transsexuals on the show? No, I don’t think so – commented Razek -. Why not? Because the show is a fantasy, it’s a 42-minute entertainment special and that’s it.”
After all, Razek was right, it was a fantasy and like every fantasy it eventually fell apart, because luckily it was replaced by a more varied, different, original, unique reality. The question is: will the new angelic universe be able to conquer little girls?