Victoria's Secret fashion show is coming back. But will it appeal to the conscious Gen Z and Millennials?

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMar 07, 2023 | 10:26

Victoria's Secret fashion show is coming back. But will it appeal to the conscious Gen Z and Millennials?

Victoria's Secret fashion show is reportedly coming back this year. Photo: AFP, Victoria's Secret

Once upon a time, the American lingerie brand Victoria's Secret's fashion show was called the Super Bowl of fashion shows in the world. That was until it had a tumble from grace, mired in controversies and unable to evolve with time and demand. 

However, Victoria's Secret has reportedly announced a comeback of its fashion. The same fashion show which used to be the centre of its business model and which was cancelled in 2018 after a slew of bad press. 

Victoria's Secret Fashion show in 2015. Photo: AFP

And this time around, Victoria's Secret fashion show is going to be DIFFERENT. As for how different; we will have to wait and see. But the era of white, impossibly thin, and super tall models is over. This is the era of inclusivity and body positivity. 


Retail Dive reported that Chief Financial Officer Timothy Johnson, in an earnings call, in February spoke about a "new version" of the VS fashion show later this year. 

We're going to continue to lean into the marketing spend to invest in the business, both at top-of-funnel and also to support the new version of our fashion show, which is to come later this year.
-Timothy Johnson, CFO

This Valentine's Day ad campaign of VS is going viral on social media right now:

And we are looking at something we would have never seen in the early 2000s Victoria's Secret ads - black, plus-size individuals. 

But not everyone seems to be convinced and ready to buy into Victoria's Secret just yet. Singer Lizzo had thoughts:

Does Victoria's Secret really believe in inclusivity and women empowerment or is it just trying to fit into the "trend"? That's the question many are asking. 


Some are even asking why we need Victoria's Secret fashion show at all. 

What happened to Victoria's Secret? 

Well, if you are unaware of Victoria's Secret rise and fall, this song on the brand literally tiled Victoria's Secret should tell you the entire story of how it impacted the general consumer base (read: young girls).

… I know Victoria's secret And, girl, you wouldn't believe She's an old man who lives in Ohio Making money off of girls like me" Cashin' in on body issues Sellin' skin and bones with big b***s I know Victoria's secret She was made up by a dude (dude)
- Lyrics
  • The above lyrics basically summed up everything that was wrong with Victoria's Secret. It was not showing women's empowerment, it was showing the male gaze appeal. 
  • Victoria's Secret's lace and underwired lingerie sets aimed ONLY at super thin people fell out of fashion with a lot of people. 
  • It started losing out to athleisure and body-inclusive lingerie brands like Lululemon, Rihanna's Savage X Fenty, and more, which prioritised comfort and belonging.
  • Victoria's Secret also heavily invested in the Shopping Mall culture of the 2000s, which is no longer in vogue. Instead, most shopping has moved online. 

But not all of its troubles were because of its outdated products and marketing. 

  • In the modern-day, any brand or business's fall is not complete without a damning documentary or an expose. 
  • A 2022 documentary series, Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons, detailed the fall of the brand, from exclusive and abusive culture to controversies. 
  • In 2020, The New York Times exposé of bullying, misogyny, and sexual misconduct inside Victoria's Secret corporate culture dented a blow. 
  • And it did not help that VS's former parent company (parted ways in 2021), L Brand's founder Leslie Wexner, the Ohio man, closely knew and worked with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.  
  • Epstein used to manage Wexner's money and even used his connection to Victoria's Secret to lure young women and models to assault them. 

But it needs to be seen whether Victoria's Secret is able to make a comeback in a market ruled by conscious Gen Z and Millennial consumers, where brands such as Savage X Fenty already have its foothold from inception. 

Last updated: March 07, 2023 | 11:42
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