The Victoria’s Secrets Fashion show is canceled this season after a 23-year run.
Beforehand, it had already been confirmed that there would not be a fashion show by one of their models, Shanina Shaik, and the show had been pulled from airing on network television six months prior.
Now, the curtains have been pulled for the show altogether.
Stuart Burgdoerfer, the chief financial officer of L Brands, which is Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, cited a decline in viewership as the leading reason for the cancellation in an earnings call on Nov. 21.
“Did we see specific material impact on short-term sales response to the airing of the fashion show? As a general matter, the answer to that question is no,” Burgdoerfer said. “So if you’re like, ‘Oh my God, Stuart, are you freaked out about the day-after-the-fashion-show result and what’s going to happen?’ it did air at different times over the years, and we didn’t see a material impact on the next few days’ results.”
Besides fewer views and sales, Victoria’s Secret hasn’t had the best image in recent years. They’ve been criticized for lack of diversity within their models, a former executive showed disinterest in plus-sized or transgendered women walking the runway and CEO of L Brands, Les Wexner, had ties to the late and infamous alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Ed Razek, former Chief Marketing Officer of Limited Brands, made some controversial comments in the November 2018 issue of Vogue magazine when asked about possibly including plus-size and transgender models on their annual fashion show.
“We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t,” Razek said. “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.”
Razek garnered criticism for his comments and then he apologized for them from the company’s official Twitter account.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” wrote Razek. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings…And like many others, they didn’t make it…But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
Now, instead of the fashion show, they will focus on listening more to the people.
“We’re figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers and that’s among the things that [Victoria’s Secret chief executive officer] John [Mehas] is focused on,” said Burgdoerfer. “You can be sure we’ll be communicating with customers through lots of vehicles including social media and various, more current platforms.”
With other companies like Aerie and Savage x Fenty being inclusive of all body types, it sheds light on what type Victoria Secret’s accommodates, and it seems they’re getting backfired for it.
The #1 lingerie brand in the world has some rebranding to do, and can hopefully make a comeback in time for the next holiday season.