Victoria’s Secret held its final fashion show in 2018, long before claims of institutional misogyny arose at the underwear brand, but long after many of us understood it was selling something more pernicious than $40 teal lace push-up bras with rhinestone accents. Colorado native Taylor Hill, at 22 years old, opened the show with innocent beauty and lengthy limbs reminiscent of a newborn farm animal.
Hill, dressed in a little plaid kilt, thigh-high stiletto boots, and a fuchsia brassiere with feathered fuchsia wings, made her entry to the stage while a projected video of her saying “We should go forward; we should push the barrier” played in the background. She went on to argue that women should “be seductive for ourselves, and for who we want to be, not because a man says you have to be. Not that it ever really had anything to do with that.
Who Is Victoria’s Secret?
As American lingerie, apparel, and beauty business, Victoria’s Secret is well-known for its high-visibility marketing and branding, which includes a popular catalog and an annual fashion show featuring supermodels dubbed Angels. A decline in sales and widespread criticism of the company’s leadership have plagued the once dominant lingerie store in the United States since 2016.
In 1982, Leslie Wexner purchased the five lingerie boutiques founded by Roy and Gaye Raymond in 1977. By the early 1990s, Victoria’s Secret had grown to 350 locations across the United States and had generated sales of $1 billion thanks to Wexner’s aggressive expansion into American shopping malls.
On June 12th, 1977, Victoria’s Secret was established by Roy and Gaye Raymond. The original business was established in Palo Alto, California’s Stanford Shopping Center. Raymond felt ashamed when he went to a department store to buy his wife some lingerie many years ago.
When asked by Newsweek about his experience trying to buy underwear for his wife, Roy Raymond reportedly said, “I was met with racks of terry-cloth robes and unattractive floral-print nylon nightgowns, and I always had the sensation the department store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome visitor.” According to rumors, Raymond devoted the following eight years to researching the underwear industry.
Fashion Show Hosted by Victoria’s Secret.
2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Kelly Gale. In 1995, the very first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired on network television in the United States. Newsweek called the fashion show directed by Ed Razek “a blend of confident strutting for ladies and voyeuristic pleasures for males,” and said it brought lingerie into the mainstream as entertainment.
In 1999, Ken Weil, a vice president at Victoria’s Secret, and Tim Plzak, who was in charge of IT at Intimate Brands, the parent company, oversaw the first-ever online streaming of Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Webcasting began on February 2, 1999, and lasted for 18 minutes. At the time, it was the “largest event” in the history of the Internet.
Claims of Transphobia.
When asked about the importance of diversity at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Victoria’s Secret president Ed Razek told Vogue in an interview published in November 2018:
“Have you considered including transgender people in the show? No. Not in my opinion, no. Sure, why not? Since it’s a made-up show. This is a 42-minute long TV show. Indeed, that is the case.” Many in the modeling industry, including transsexual model Carmen Carrera, Kendall Jenner, then-Angel Lily Aldridge, and ex-Angel Karlie Kloss, reacted strongly negatively to these comments.