It seems like ages ago that the Victoria’s Secret Angels were last seen parading their luxurious wings on the runway, showing off their stick-thin figures and toned legs. For many a sex symbol, for others the source of insecurities, the Angels were always at the center of many controversies. Beyond the unrealistic beauty standards and “body goals” these models were setting, the lack of diversity among the Angels themselves is what caused Victoria’s Secret’s downfall.
At the time, the show was widely criticized for lacking representation of skin colors, body types, and ethnicities. The pressure and repeated scandals finally got the best of Victoria’s Secret, which finally hung up its wings in 2018. But after 5 years in the dark, the brand announced its new Victoria’s Secret Tour coming fall of 2023.
Victoria’s Secret had the opportunity to make a huge comeback but tragically failed in doing so. Not only was the campaign leading up to the show a letdown, there was actually no real runway show. Victoria’s Secret came out with a 27-minute-long film instead in which the models did not seem to have the same quality of custom pieces and the wings had none of the wow factor they used to have.
Models in the campaign were wearing jeans and underwhelming clothing pieces in lieu of the fantasy bras and custom outfits OG Angels used to receive. The documentary-style fashion show completely missed the mark because it did not feel authentic to the brand. Victoria’s Secret shows were fun and sexy and meant to sell a dream, whereas this documentary felt convoluted and messy.
By trying to be more approachable and relatable, Victoria’s Secret missed the mark on the entire appeal of its show. Yes, they added diversity and representation, but completely took away the glitz and the magic. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s almost as though the brand was saying these different body types could not be seen as glamorous.
There is now a new divide between critiques. One side claims the exclusivity of the Angels was what made the brand appealing, the other supports the diversity initiatives while wanting the original concept of the show back.
If you ask me, embracing diversity and inclusivity is essential in today’s cultural landscape, but it needs to be approached thoughtfully and authentically. Victoria’s Secret’s downfall was not solely due to a lack of representation but also stemmed from a failure to carry out the essence of its brand. While the move towards inclusivity was a positive step, the brand lost its appeal by sacrificing the glitz and glam that originally captivated its audience.
I am curious to see what Victoria’s Secret will bring us in 2024 and if it will find a way to recover from this fashion fiasco.
- Victoria’s Secret Tour: the Angels’ Fall From Grace - January 28, 2024