Victoria’s Secret’s Controversial Fashion Show Will Return This Fall

Matt Winkelmeyer
Matt Winkelmeyer

Victoria’s Secret announced on Wednesday that this fall, the brand’s controversial and iconic Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will return to the runway after a five year hiatus. In 2019, the show—which, since its first iteration in 1995, could always be relied upon to showcase supermodels clad in lingerie and elaborate costumes—was called off due to a decline in ratings and a swirl of negative press around the proceedings.

“We’ve read the comments and heard you,” Victoria’s Secret posted to Instagram Reels on Wednesday. “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is BACK and will reflect who we are today, plus everything you know and love—the glamour, runway, wings, musical entertainment, and more.”

“The 2024 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will deliver precisely what our customers have been asking for—the glamour, runway, fashion, fun, wings, entertainment—all through a powerful, modern lens reflecting who we are today,” a rep for the brand told People. “We’re thrilled to share a women-led articulation of this iconic property later this year!”

For years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show stood as a glimmering representation of peak American Empire spectacle. Pop stars like Halsey, the Chainsmokers and, of course, Taylor Swift would prance down the runway alongside brand-loyal luminaries like Adriana Lima and Behati Prinsloo; as the latter showed off new underwear sets and Angel wings.

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The televised spectacular was canceled in 2019, however. At the time, reports were emerging that illustrated just how many curious ties billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein had to the Victoria’s Secret brand.

The runway show in 2018 was also a bust, attracting just 3.3 million viewers. (5 million had tuned in the year before.) In 2018, the company’s then-marketing officer, Ed Razek, stoked outrage when he told Vogue in an interview that he did not think transgender models belonged in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” Razek said at the time. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”

The official party line from L Brands, the parent company behind Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, at the time of the annual fashion show’s cancellation was that Victoria’s Secret wanted to “evolve the marketing” of its lingerie brand.

Now that the show will be returning, Victoria’s Secret has its work cut out for it to make potential viewers forget the sins of the past.

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