Victoria’s fashion show is so outdated
Yes, we got it — the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which aired Tuesday, Dec. 9 on CBS, is one of the most-anticipated and most-watched annual fashion shows in the world, one that puts lingerie and sleepwear on primetime TV.
It is fun, glamorous, exciting, over-the-top and grand. The brand does an intense crescendo job publicizing anything related to its big runway day, and it’s a sexy beauty countdown covering all backstage access from casting to some of the show models’ workouts. The VSFS has become a controlled out-of-control fantasy extravaganza that slowly started back in 1995 in New York at the Plaza Hotel when not-so-skinny models only wore underwear, and there were no special lights, no glitz and no wings.
Almost 20 years has passed since then, and the event is on its 19th edition. This time around, the beautiful “angels” put their wings to rest, and they boarded a plane — with aluminum wings — bound for London. The rest is history … and the same format, stars, celebrities, VIP guests, stellar performances and some different model faces on the catwalk, but all with the same “perfect body.”
Yes, Victoria’s Secret has found the wisdom to market its VS “body” bra by visually appearing to define what a Perfect Body is, but shoppers in U.K. were not happy with the ad! The backlash was such that the slogan was changed to “a body for every body.” I am sure that this perfect body Victoria’s Secret talks about has to do with the fit and choices available than the actual body itself; however, I am sure a decision was made over this play on words in the marketing board game.
I am the first one to say that the fashion show is indeed amazing, and why shouldn’t I? The best models in the industry are walking a fabulous catwalk looking like they are having the best time, and they sure are since the show gets bigger every year. It is such a coveted spot that only landing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue can give such a thrill to a fashion model for the opportunity to look so good wearing almost nothing. Unfortunately, not every woman looks like those models in this show that is produced by a company that has posted billions of dollars in revenue throughout the years. It’s money generated from the simple notion that one wants to look and feel beautiful, but in fantasy and reality, most women can’t look like those angels.
What bothers me about the approach of Victoria’s Secret concept for the show is the selective inclusion. This is the biggest lingerie retailer in the country, it is an established brand, it is not about a marketing strategy anymore — it is a choice. The company carefully selects models from different backgrounds so that the mix during its fashion show is racially represented, so why not start setting an example by sending a strong empowering message by also including curvy and plus-size models down the runaway?
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show does feature different sizes and shapes for the wings that these angels wear, so why not take ownership for a social responsibility that every successful brand at some point starts to have? Women want to be beautiful, but why do they constantly need to be reminded by the brand that they support and helped grow that this state of being has more to do with their bodies than how they feel about them?
It is time to change for the better. It is time to bring a new attitude and energy to the table and to the runway.