By the yardstick of #MeToo, Victoria's Secret cancels its famous parade

The American lingerie brand, caught in financial difficulties and polemics, confirmed that it was canceling its show, which gave pride of place to the image of the woman-object.

Time to Reading 3 min.

During the Victoria's Secret lingerie show on November 8, 2018, in New York, models Winnie Harlow, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Alexina Graham. ANGELA WEISS / AFP

It was one of the most followed fashion shows for twenty years. The American lingerie brand Victoria's Secret confirmed that it was canceling its show with alluring outfits, out of step with the feminist #MeToo movement. The decision was in the air since the summer, after several years of falling audiences of this parade, born in 1995.

In 2014, the very sexy "Angels" – nicknames of the models of the brand, which paraded with wings in the back – had attracted in front of their screens more than 9 million American spectators. In December 2018, they were only 3.3 million to follow the parade of this brand caught in financial difficulties and controversy.

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The confirmation came at a news conference on Thursday, executives of the parent company, L Brands, with financial analysts about the quarter's poor results of the brand. "We will communicate with our customers, but it will not be as important as the parade"announced financial director Stuart Burgdoerfer.

He confirmed that Victoria's Secret, which once embodied glamor, attracted top-of-the-line supermodels like Gisele Bündchen or Naomi Campbell, was unable to regain a new lease of life despite recent leadership changes.

The "woman-object" spirit has fizzled

Sales were just over $ 1 billion in the third quarter of 2019, down 7% from the same period in 2018, and some 30 directly owned stores have closed since February. A counter-performance that contributed to stifle the quarterly results of L Brands, Victoria's Secret has long been the jewel, with a further net loss of $ 252 million.

At the root of this disaffection, a strategy "Marketing" to review, according to the leaders. In fact, Victoria's Secret seems to be paying the price for a series of controversies that have helped to make the brand the image of a "woman-object" spirit that is out of sync with a growing demand for more diversity on the catwalks and a awareness of the multiple sexual assaults suffered by the models.

The brand had tried to turn things around a bit in its December 2018 parade, with a more cosmopolitan cast. But a few days later, marketing director Ed Razek sparked heated controversy by ruling out the possibility of integrating transgender models and round women, rejecting a strong trend in American fashion in recent years. He had to make a public apology.

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Close to Jeffrey Epstein

In parallel with this case, the name of the brand has not stopped coming back in recent months in connection with the case of the New York financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison after being charged with multiple sexual assaults on children. young girls for years. Mr. Epstein was for a long time close to L Brands boss Leslie Wexner, who helped introduce him into the jet-set and the Victoria's Secret fashion shows.

Although Mr. Wexner had claimed to have broken with Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago, L Brands had indicated in July, after the financier's charge, that he had asked outside lawyers to review all possible links with him. . At the time of the #MeToo movement, all this could only serve the brand.

The model defense association Model Alliance also hailed on Twitter the cancellation of the parade. And pointed out that more than 100 models had signed a letter asking Victoria's Secret to adopt its program "Respect", aimed at preventing sexual assault and ensuring fair working conditions.

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While waiting to see if Victoria's Secret will recover from this black series, the world of lingerie has as new star the singer Rihanna, with his brand Savage. The latter is the perfect opposite of Victoria's Secret: diversity is the key word, and women seem to control their body and their desires, assuming their forms without worrying about the eyes of men.

It is at Rihanna that stars are appearing today and that the big models are parading, like Gigi and Bella Hadid or Cara Delevingne, who participated in the Savage parade in New York in September. "It was the first time on a podium that I felt really sexy", Bella Hadid recently told the magazine She. "I had never felt so powerful on a podium, in underwear. "


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