When it comes to women’s underwear, Victoria’s Secret is a global icon. The brand has a history of casting supermodels in their advertisements. These ads pushed the category of lingerie into high fashion, a place where it has never before existed. The brand has also been accused of sexism and racism. The company has attempted to combat the negative perceptions of its products by presenting its wares as embodiments of feminine strength and fierceness.
During the early days of the brand, store locations were a crucial part of its establishment. Its stores were mostly concentrated in the United States, until the early 2000s. In the early 1990s, the brand hired supermodels for advertising campaigns. These advertisements grew into televised commercials that showcased the brand’s stores.
The company was also linked to a former sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. While he didn’t work for Victoria’s Secret, he did manage its finances for several years. In addition, he attempted to get involved in the company’s business by offering input on models. Ultimately, he committed suicide in jail in August 2019.
By 1982, Victoria’s Secret had five stores and a 40-page catalog. It was generating $6 million a year. Raymond sold the company to Les Wexner for $1 million. Les Wexner, a businessman from Ohio, decided to change the sales model. He decided to sell the company’s lingerie in a more mainstream and upscale way.
The brand also partnered with the Angels Across America organization to market its products. However, the Super Bowl controversy forced the company to cancel its 2004 fashion show. As a result, the company chose to instead promote the brand through an Angels Across America tour. This tour toured the country and sent five contract models to promote the brand.
As a result, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show faced many criticisms. It was viewed as outdated and the company’s market share was declining. The CEO of the company, Michael Razek, resigned after the controversy was widely publicized. He later sold the company to a private equity firm.
In the following decades, the brand has become a multi-billion dollar business. In the eighties, the company was acquired by L Brands Inc., a multi-billion-dollar corporation that includes Abercrombie & Fitch and Lingerie. Today, the company still has many products, including the iconic Victoria’s Secret lingerie.