Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: The Genesis of the “Angels”

Written By Alla Levin
December 12, 2018
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The Genesis of the “Angels”

The Angels. The artists. The wings. Everything. Eventually, we all can see the magic and watch the entire 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on Youtube!

Let’s have a look back and discover some history. Thinking about Victoria’s Secret – “who is Victoria,” have you ever asked yourself?

The story behind Victoria’s Secret is one that you would give a leg and an arm to grasp. Roy Raymond, Stanford MBA, wants to buy his wife some lingerie but avoids the embarrassment associated with departmental store purchases, and his creativity tells him to come up with a place he would be comfortable with.

He acquired a $40,000 bank loan, and another $40,000 from his in-laws, and Victoria’s Secret is born. The store makes a whopping $500,000 in profits the first year, opens up three more stores, and success takes a moment. Fast forward five years, he sells the company to one Leslie Wexner and the Limited for $4 million.Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Two years later, an idea of a guy seeking to buy his wife a pair of thigh booms up to a value of $500 business.

Leslie Wexner, CEO proposes the idea of having a fashion show, an idea which was termed ‘lingerie” by the Allen Adamson, co-founder of Megaforce, as it sets Victoria’s Secret apart amidst the cut-throat competition.victoria's secret who is victoria

The first show features names like “lingerie event of the century,” which turns to be worldwide news. Victoria’s Secret booked some of the most significant models in the world, such as the 1996 bejeweled, ultra-expensive Fantasy Bra, which was worn by supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

The following year show would then feature models like Rebecca Romijn, Naomi Campbell, and Helena Christensen walked in the show.

For the show’s seventh iteration, Victoria’s Secret decided to televise the event annually beginning 1999, with executives cautious about anything related to scantily-clad women in the wake of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.what is victoria's secret

Over its 23-year existence, Victoria’s Secret fashion is growing by leaps and bounds into one of the world’s most talked-about fashion events. And it turned the brand’s Angels, a select group of models who hold year-long Victoria’s Secret contracts into bonafide celebrities.

Most likely, the models that walk in that show are perceived to have made it in the mainstream of modeling.

Building hypeVictoria-Secret-Angel-Models

The most impressive fact about Victoria’s Secret fashion show is how the brand designs the thrill around the less-than-hour-long event to last for weeks. Victoria’s Secret starts to build steam way before it happens to the real event.

Often, models, especially “Angels,” do plenty of interviews in the weeks leading to the show. They would chat about their pre-show diets and beauty routines and announce who would get to wear the fantasy bra. The opportunity of getting to wear the fantasy bra is regarded highly.

Elsa Hosk wearing VS Fantasy Bra, 2018

Victoria’s Secret does also prolong its show’s lifespan, for a more extended period. They went further and launched a web show called the Victoria’s Secret Model Search, which is an amateur modeling competition that puts the show at the forefront of the market.

Bumps along the way

2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - Runway
Bella Hadid and Halsey walk the runway during the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

The event’s growth won’t come without its controversies. In 2012, Karlie Kloss walked the runway in a Native American-inspired headdress, who later offered an apology following an intense public outcry. Something which comes out even in the midst of these criticisms is the fact that ethnic diversity has grown but not body diversity.

It’s a demonstration of a company’s culture that is completely at odds with what’s going on in the outside world.

2012, Karlie Kloss wore a Native American headdress
Karlie Kloss Wearing a Native American Headdress, 2012

At its core, Victoria’s Secret fashion show is a powerful marketing tool that cements Victoria’s Secret’s brand position and image in the eyes of consumers.

Razek admits that its plus-size women have not been a part of that brand in the recent past, and others revealing that the company’s top brass has “never felt a large body is sexy.”

In a country where 67 percent of women wear size 14 and up, it’s tough to believe that an overwhelming majority of American women don’t want to see themselves represented in marketing. It’s a problem bigger than just Victoria’s Secret that the most “advertisement doesn’t revolve around me.”

Winnie Harlow walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Winnie Harlow walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

One thing that comes out clearly is that it felt like those car old models, the beautiful women pointing at the new Oldsmobile. But now, everything seems a bit at par with times, especially when it comes to honoring a young model for wearing a million-dollar, diamond-studded bra.

Not without a fight

Victoria’s Secret’s place in the lives of their women customers may face criticism in today’s climate, but the brand is a behemoth that will be hard to topple. This is due to its strong taste in the mists of its fans. A survey of 3,000 Americans from CivicScience reveals how the brand’s popularity spreads like wildfire.

Most of the people would say that still, the show serves as something of a boon for the brand. Those statistics give the brand a reason to smile and remain optimistic.

lima-hadid-swanepoel-victorias secret angels
Lima, Hadid, Swanepoel

The brand’s position seems to be leveling off recently. The company could build on that or continue to slide if they keep misstepping.

However, one thing that stands out is that consumer confidence or consumer sentiment towards the brand has settled in and even improved a little bit from where it was two, around two years ago.adriana lima victoria secret

Its behavior echoes the concept of diminishing returns. As the taste changes, as culture changes, as attitudes towards women change, and women’s attitudes towards how they want to be depicted change, it’s becoming less and less effective every year.


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