Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons

victoria secret

The lingerie empire once ruled by sexy blonde bombshells and pink spandex got the docuseries treatment this week. Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons, a three-part series on Hulu, reveals the dark underbelly of the billion-dollar company and how a convicted sex trafficker and con man named Jeffrey Epstein played a role in its downfall.

The show starts with a simple premise: Les Wexner, the founder of Victoria’s Secret and its PINK brand, built his fortune from humble beginnings. He then used his wealth and influence to become a major player in the fashion industry, launching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and amassing a legion of beautiful models who he referred to as his “Angels.” As the brand grows, Wexner’s insidious connection with convicted sex offender and child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein goes unchecked until a former model is held hostage on Wexner’s property and the entire empire starts to crumble.

As the documentary unfolds, we get a glimpse into a corporate culture that was full of misogyny, harassment and toxic leadership. Investigations into the company uncovered widespread bullying and inappropriate behavior among employees and models. Wexner and his top aide Ed Razek were at the forefront of this culture, allegedly making sexist comments publicly and behind the scenes. Former models and employees also allege that they were pushed out of the company for speaking up about their experiences.

It’s clear that Victoria’s Secret’s regressive mindset toward women was what ultimately led to its downfall. Even as the rest of the fashion world was starting to embrace the notion of body positivity, Victoria’s Secret refused to budge on its single vision of what a woman should look like. It’s a mindset that a lot of people have grown tired of, and it’s the reason why upstart brands like ThirdLove, Savage x Fenty Beauty and Aerie have been so successful in taking away market share from the once-mighty empire.

After years of controversies, exposes and documentaries that focus on the negative aspects of the brand and its notorious runway shows, it seems as though things are changing at Victoria’s Secret. The company has been shifting their marketing message and embracing diversity with their new campaign, which features athletes, musicians and other celebrities. It’s a total 180 from the blonde bombshell and all-pink era of the company, and it showcases the incredibly diverse cast of Angels.

Whether or not the changes will be enough to revive the company’s stock price and the popularity of its annual fashion show remains to be seen, but it’s a good sign that they are trying to change the narrative about the brand.

As the resurgence of ’90s fashions prompts new documentaries about the era, it will be interesting to see how these stories of power, money and misconduct impact a company that was once one of America’s most well-known, if not infamous, brands. As the resurgence continues, it may just be that more and more of us will be ready to put our sexy pink dinosaurs back into the closet.