What killed the Victoria Secret Style Show?

The Rise and Glamour of the Victoria Secret Style Show

When we think about the Victoria Secret Style Show, we immediately picture beautiful models walking the runway in extravagant lingerie, angel wings, and high heels. This show was the epitome of glamour and luxury, attracting a massive global audience. Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which originated in the late 1990s, was more than just a lingerie show; it was a cultural phenomenon. It not only showcased the brand's newest collections but also featured some of the biggest names in music, making it a star-studded event. It was a showcase that many models aspired to walk, signifying they had reached the pinnacle of their careers. I remember eagerly waiting for the show each year, mesmerized by the spectacle of it all.

Declining Ratings

Despite its initial success, the Victoria Secret Style Show started experiencing a decline in its viewership. The show, which once attracted millions of viewers, saw a drastic drop in ratings over the years. For instance, the 2018 show only attracted 3.3 million viewers, a significant decrease from the 9.7 million viewers it had in 2013. The declining ratings were a clear sign that the show was losing its allure, and the audience was no longer as interested as they once were. This trend was a huge blow to the brand and a clear indication that things were not going as planned.

The Shift in Society's Perception of Beauty

As society evolved, so did our perception of beauty. The Victoria Secret Style Show was criticized for promoting a single, unrealistic body image. The show was infamous for featuring models with a specific body type - tall, ultra-skinny, and predominantly white. This narrow representation of beauty was increasingly seen as outdated and irrelevant, as the world began embracing diversity and body positivity. The public started demanding for more inclusivity in the fashion industry, and Victoria's Secret seemed to be stuck in the past, failing to adapt to the changing times.

Controversial Remarks from the Brand's Executives

Adding fuel to the fire, some controversial remarks from Victoria Secret's executives further alienated the brand from its audience. In 2018, Ed Razek, the brand's marketing chief, made some insensitive comments about transgender and plus-size models, stating that they should not be included in the show. These comments sparked outrage and led to calls for a boycott of the brand. This incident highlighted the brand's problematic attitude towards diversity and inclusion, further damaging its reputation.

The Rise of Inclusive Lingerie Brands

While Victoria's Secret was struggling with its image, other lingerie brands that embraced diversity and inclusivity were on the rise. Brands like Aerie, ThirdLove, and Savage x Fenty started gaining popularity by featuring models of different sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds. They promoted body positivity and self-love, resonating with a wider audience. The success of these brands was a stark contrast to Victoria's Secret's declining popularity, illustrating the importance of inclusivity in today's society.

The #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement, which gained momentum in the late 2010s, played a significant role in shedding light on the objectification and sexualization of women in the fashion industry. As models started sharing their experiences of harassment and exploitation, the Victoria Secret Style Show came under scrutiny for its hypersexualized portrayal of women. The show was criticized for objectifying women and promoting an unhealthy and unrealistic body image. This sparked a conversation about the need for change in the industry.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world in 2020 was the final nail in the coffin for the Victoria Secret Style Show. With social distancing measures in place and events cancelled worldwide, the possibility of organizing a large-scale show was out of the question. However, even before the pandemic, Victoria's Secret had announced in 2019 that they would not be holding their annual fashion show, indicating that the show's demise was already in the works.

The Rebranding Efforts

Recognizing the need for change, Victoria's Secret has started making efforts to rebrand itself. The brand announced in 2021 that it was ditching its angel wings and replacing its model roster with a diverse group of women known as the "VS Collective." These women include activists, athletes, and entrepreneurs who represent a broader range of beauty and body types. This move is a step in the right direction for the brand, but only time will tell if it's enough to regain its lost popularity.

The Future of Victoria's Secret

The demise of the Victoria Secret Style Show is a wake-up call for the fashion industry. It serves as a reminder that brands need to evolve and adapt to the changing societal norms. While the Victoria Secret Style Show will be remembered for its glamour and spectacle, its downfall is a clear sign that the industry needs to prioritize inclusivity, diversity, and respect for all body types. As for Victoria's Secret, the brand is in the midst of a major transformation, and it will be interesting to see how it navigates its way forward in this new era.

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