The once-popular, now one of the most contentious fashion shows, Victoria’s Secret (VS) Fashion Show is now officially cancelled. And we’re not using the internet lingo of “cancelled”, but the show has legit been canned.
Fortune reported that L Brands had pulled the plug on the show as part of a move to “evolve the messaging of [the company]”.
They reported CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer as saying, “We will be communicating to customers, but nothing similar in magnitude to the fashion show.”
Glamour quoted the brand’s statement: “Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business while we focus on ensuring that our merchandise resonates with customers.”
This was the first time the brand had officially acknowledged that the show will be cancelled after model Shanina Shaik, who has been a staple on the runway of VS Fashion Show since 2011, told Australia’s Daily Telegraph in July that this year’s show has been cancelled. She added, “But I’m sure in the future something will happen, which I’m pretty sure about. I’m sure they’re trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show because it’s the best show in the world.”
In May, Leslie Wexner, the chief executive of the brand’s parent company L Brands, said, “We have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.” However, there was no confirmation of a cancellation then.
In recent years, the show has gotten a lot of flak for its lack of representation and dated representation of beauty. Not only did they only cast predominantly white, skinny and leggy Angels (as the models are called), they also only include cis-gender models.
Last year, the brand’s Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek attracted the ire of the public and fashion insiders when he remarked why they don’t include transsexuals and plus-size models in the show. He told Vogue.com, “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. … We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
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He later made a statement on Twitter, clarifying that they would cast transgender people in the show, and that they’ve had transgenders come for an audition but didn’t make the cut. “But it was never about gender,” he wrote. His statement was absent of any comment made about plus-size model.
And it was surprising that he thought no one had an interest in plus-size models because Savage x Fenty, Rihanna’s lingerie label, had a fashion show that featured plus-size models (and transgenders and pregnant models) and it was a hit.
Ed, who oversaw the choosing of Angels for 15 years, has since left the brand.
In 2015, Karlie Kloss, who was an angel for two years, parted ways with the brand because she “didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.” She told British Vogue, “I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world.” She joined the show again in 2017.