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Victoria’s Secret is rebooting its scandal-plagued fashion show as movie

A MODEL at The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2011.

VICTORIA’S SECRET & Co. will bring its fashion show back as a feature-length film this fall after a four-year hiatus, showcasing artists and designers from around the world.

The film, which will be available for streaming internationally, is an attempted reimagining of the retailer’s former flagship event. The fashion show was discontinued after it came under fire for its retrograde portrayal of women. Ratings for the live broadcast had also dropped significantly in its later years.

The film will spotlight fashion collections from 20 artists from four cities — Bogota, Lagos, London, and Tokyo — that celebrate the “individuality of women’s stories and perspectives,” said Raúl Martinez, head creative director at Victoria’s Secret. One portion of the show will document the making of the collections and another will showcase the designs, which aren’t limited to lingerie and could include dresses or outerwear, according to a company spokesperson.

The original live event, which ran from 1995 to 2018, reached peak popularity in the 2000s, turning models like Gisele Bündchen into celebrities and drawing over 10 million viewers worldwide. Viewership dropped as the show’s use of thin, mostly White, scantily clad models known as “angels” fell increasingly out of step with growing inclusivity. At one point, the head of marketing said it wouldn’t include transgender or plus-size models. (The company later apologized.)

It’s unclear how much of a departure the new program will be from the original. The company described it as a mix of old and new. It plans to include top supermodels and musical talent, but didn’t indicate how diverse that group would be or give additional specifics. Elements of the original show — like wings — could be featured in the film, but in a new way, the spokesperson said.

The film will bring back the “very best of entertainment and fashion our customers have been asking for,” said Chris Rupp, chief customer officer at Victoria’s Secret. “We’re celebrating the iconic heritage of the brand through a new generation of artists, and we can’t wait to amplify their vision through our worldwide platform.”

The company has worked to clean up its image in the last few years by casting more diverse models, expanding its size range and adding more women to its board of directors. Victoria’s Secret broke off from its former parent company, L Brands, in 2021 and has since struggled as a standalone public company, losing about 60% of its market value.

Competitors such as Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty — which has produced its own fashion show — and ThirdLove have drawn consumers by positioning themselves as the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret.

In addition to the designs from the four cities, Victoria’s Secret’s in-house teams are creating a fifth collection which will also be part of the show. The items created by the international designers won’t be immediately available for sale, according to the spokesperson.

The company expects that the new show could become an annual event featuring different cities and designers. — Bloomberg

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