Victoria’s Secret Is Getting a Makeover

Until recently, Victoria’s Secret was the go-to destination for women looking to indulge in the fantasy of femininity. Its televised shows and salacious commercials starred svelte bombshell models, like Gisele Bundchen and Heidi Klum, trussed up in lace-trimmed lingerie and diamante push-up bras framed by 12-foot-high angel wings. Its mall stores sold everything from undergarments to swimwear, and the company even developed a line of fragrances and beauty products designed to evoke feelings of romance.

Then came the #MeToo movement and calls for greater representational inclusivity in fashion, which shifted the dial on what consumers wanted to see. And for a brand that relied on svelte models with the physiques of racehorses to sell its lingerie, the shift was a brutal one.

Its sales began to slide as more inclusive lingerie brands like ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty took the spotlight. In 2022, a documentary directed by Matt Tyrnauer called Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons put the brand’s past practices on full display, including alleged ties to serial predator Jeffrey Epstein, the punishing size standards, and former president Ed Razek insulting transgender model Valentina Sampaio.

But that doesn’t mean the brand is out of a hat: In the past few years, it has begun to reshape itself into a palace of pink dreams that celebrates inclusivity and invincible self-love. And it’s gotten some help from a slew of young women.

Sierra Mariela, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, hasn’t been to a Victoria’s Secret store in over five years because she is turned off by the company’s messaging. She says she now goes to Target or online marketplaces like Depop for her lingerie needs.

The new approach to the brand was born out of necessity. In the early 1990s, the company hired supermodels for its fashion shows and televised ads. These “Angels” – which eventually included Stephanie Seymour, Daniela Pestova, and Karen Mulder – were clad in the company’s “Fantasy Bras,” which were new each year.

The company soon branched out, and started to offer everyday undergarments and sleepwear, plus perfumes and beauty products, shoes, and even swimwear. It also launched PINK, a line aimed at teenage girls.

Ultimately, the goal of the “VS 20” collective is to destroy old tropes and build new ones. The collective aims to present the brand as one that empowers women of all shapes and sizes, and encourages them to “own their confidence.” And with the right team, a new Victoria’s Secret could be on its way to becoming the place where every woman feels confident and unstoppable. But the truth is, it’s going to take a lot more than a few new faces and a message of female empowerment to get there. It’s going to require a complete cultural overhaul. And that’s going to be a tall order.