Victoria’s Secret fashion show set to return to runway

Victoria’s Secret fashion show set to return to runway

Victoria’s Secret’s controversial fashion show is making its return to the runway.

On 15 May, Victoria’s Secret confirmed on its website that it will be doing its fashion show this year. The last time the brand hosted the runway show, in its usual televised form, was in 2018, while Victoria’s Secret did broadcast a fashion show in the form of a documentary – Victoria’s Secret: The Tour ‘23 – on Prime Video in September.

The website specified that the return of the runway show came after feedback from fans, while the brand also hinted about what to expect from the event. However, Victoria’s Secret is yet to confirm when the runway show will take place.

“We’ve read the comments and heard you. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is BACK and will reflect who we are today,” the website reads.“Plus everything you know and love – the glamour, runway, wings, musical entertainment and more! Stay tuned… it only gets more iconic from here.”

The Independent has contacted a representative for Victoria’s Secret for comment.

In September 2023, the rendition of the fashion show – The Victoria’s Secret World Tour – followed 20 artists in different cities across the world, as they created pieces for the brand. The documentary also shows the lingerie brand’s fashion show, which took place in Barcelona.

The decision to pre-record the fashion show and broadcast it on Amazon Prime came after Victoria’s Secret cancelled its iconic event in 2019. The last time the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show occurred on the runway was in 2018. During the usual fashion show, Victoria’s Secret usually televises the event, which features music performances as models walk the catwalk.

The cancellation of the 2019 fashion show, which has previously come under criticism for allegations of cultural appropriation, from television was likely due to declining viewership. The 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show only drew 3.3m viewers, down from 9.7m viewers in 2013.

However, the brand and the fashion show have been the subject of intense scrutiny over the years. In 2020, the company’s former marketing executive, Ed Razek, was accused of behaving inappropriately with models in a New York Times report. The longtime chairman of the brand, Leslie H Wexner, also stepped down from her position in February 2020, following the scrutiny he faced for his ties to Epstein.

In November 2018, Robyn Lawley, who was the first plus-size model to face the cover of Sports Illustrated, also called to boycott the fashion show. She started an online petition calling for Victoria’s Secret to be more inclusive, arguing that the lingerie brand has “dominated the space for almost 20 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful”.

“Until Victoria’s Secret commits to representing ALL women on stage, I am calling for a complete boycott of this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” she wrote on social media. “It’s time Victoria’s Secret recognised the buying power and influence of women of ALL ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.”

In 2021, the company announced that it would be going through a major rebrand, after it was criticised for promoting unrealistic body image with its non-inclusive culture and accused of failing to protect its models against sexual misconduct.

As part of the rebrand, Victoria’s Secret launched “The Icon by Victoria’s Secret collection” in 2023, which brought back models from the lingerie brand’s once-iconic “Angels” list alongside some newer faces. It included models Adut Akech and Paloma Elsesser – who both feature in the new campaign – as well as journalist Amanda de Cadenet, athlete Eileen Gu, professional footballer Megan Rapinoe, actor Priyanka Chopra Jones, and model Valentina Sampaio.

In 2021, Victoria’s Secret got rid of its “Angels” team and replaced it with “The VS Collective”, a group of seven successful women. The “Angels” were an ever-growing group of some of the most famous and in-demand models of the time, and included the likes of Tyra Banks, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Chanel Iman, Heidi Klum, Lily Aldridge and more.