Being a bombshell doesn’t seem to be enough for model Shanina Shaik. She likes to drop them too! In this case, the 28-year-old veteran of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, told an Australian news outlet that Victoria’s Secret has canceled the 2019 show. To that, I say BRA-VO!
First announced in May by The New York Times, the show was already slated to no longer air on network television, citing declining ratings. Once considered a gold standard in lingerie branding, Victoria’s Secret’s sales have been struggling in recent years.
In a move that did not endear anyone to the brand, last year chief marketing officer Ed Razek made offensive comments regarding plus-size and trans models, telling Business Insider in November 2019, “We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.” That same November, Razek sparked additional controversy with his now infamous Vogue interview. Asked about the lack of inclusivity, Razek answered, “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? 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. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”
The CEO of Victoria’s Secret’s parent entity, L Brands, Leslie Wexner suggested rebranding, saying, “[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.” While Razek tried damage control in an email to Elle, but the harm had already been done.
Shanina Shaik lamented the loss of the show and touched on Wexner’s rebranding, stating, “Unfortunately the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year…It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an [A]ngel. 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.” Shaik had previously been an Angel in the 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2018 fashion shows.
With plus size models like Ashley Graham, Tess Holliday, and Hunter McGrady sizzling the runways and magazine covers, it’s clear that a wider representation of bodies is wanted. With 68% of American women over a size 14, selling to all body types is simply good business. The trademark product for VS are their bras; Angels vary in cup size from 32A to 32D, but many women are bustier, coming in at a sized 34DD to 36DD.
Ultimately, VS will have to restructure and rebrand. Taking a break to ensure their business (and runway) models become more inclusive is a necessary evolution that must occur. While seeing a curvy woman like myself represented in those famous Angel wings would be heavenly, perhaps Victoria’s biggest secret is that it can’t change with the times.
Featured image via Instagram