Victoria’s Secret to bring back a ‘new version’ of the fashion show: What do we know

Victoria’s Secret is planning to take the catwalk once again with a “new version” of its infamous fashion show.

The lingerie company’s chief financial officer Tim Johnson shared the news during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Friday.

“We’re going to continue to lean into the marketing spend to invest in a business both at the top of the funnel and also to support the new version of our fashion show,” Johnson said.

Victoria’s Secret will share more details about the show later this year, the brand confirmed in a statement Monday.

“We are always innovating and ideating in all spheres of the business to continue to put our customer at the center of all we do and reinforce our commitment to championing women’s voices and their unique perspectives,” the statement said.

“As we’ve previously shared, our new brand projection and mission will continue to be our guiding principle. This will lead us into new spaces like reclaiming one of our best marketing and entertainment properties to date and turning it on its head to reflect who we are today.”

In this Nov.  8, 2018 photo, models Martha Hunt, from left, Lais Ribeiro, Josephine Skriver, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell and Romee Strijd walk the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York.

In this Nov. 8, 2018 photo, models Martha Hunt, from left, Lais Ribeiro, Josephine Skriver, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell and Romee Strijd walk the runway during the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York.

Victoria’s Secret has been undergoing a rebrand following years of criticism for perpetuating harmful beauty standards and lacking inclusivity, among other controversies.

Here’s what you should know about the fashion show and the company’s recent backlash.

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What happened to the Victoria’s Secret fashion show?

L Brands, the parent company of the lingerie retailer, canceled the 2019 fashion show – and it has yet to return. The brand said the decision was part of a move to “evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret.”

The announcement came in November 2019, months after it had announced it would be rethinking the show.

In years prior, the show has been buffeted by bad publicity, bad reviews and bad numbers. The 2018 show’s audience of 3.27 million viewers was the smallest since becoming a holiday season TV event in 2001, with Nielsen saying the show lost more than half its television audience over a two year span.

The same year, model Kate Upton was ripped on the show in reaction to rumors that it might be cancelled.

“You know what, we’re sick of seeing the same body type,” she said at the time in conversation with Andy Cohen. “You have to be body inclusive now. Every woman needs to be represented. Otherwise it’s a snoozefest.”

Victoria’s Secret patched its Angels as part of the rebrand

In 2021, Victoria’s Secret opted to say goodbye to its Angels and hello to athletes, activists and actors as the company’s new spokespeople.

Priyanka Chopra is one of the new faces of Victoria's Secret.

Priyanka Chopra is one of the new faces of Victoria’s Secret.

The retailer, known for using models called “Angels” to represent collections and walk in the annual show, announced a new campaign featuring a group of diverse women as the brand’s new representatives.

Among the first seven women selected to join the “VS Collective” were professional soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and LGBTQ model and activist Valentina Sampaio, the first transgender model to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

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What other backlash has Victoria’s Secret faced?

Victoria’s Secret’s rebrand is certainly not unprompted. The company has faced backlash on several separate occasions in recent years.

In 2018, for example, the brand’s then-chief marketing officer Ed Razek apologized following comments during an interview with Vogue regarding why transgender models should not be cast as part of the show.

And in 2020, models demanded “meaningful action” from the company in a letter to then-CEO John Mehas following a New York Times report on “misogyny, bullying and harassment” inside Victoria’s Secret.

Just last year, the three-part “Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons” streamed on Hulu dived into the company’s rise and fall while illuminating ties between former CEO Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein.

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Contributing: Anika Reed, Elise Brisco, Charles Trepan

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Victoria’s Secret fashion show to return with ‘new version’

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