The Victoria’s Secret Angels have lost their wings — forever.
In a major rebranding move, Victoria’s Secret is replacing the sexy, lingerie-clad, supermodel Angels with seven women “famous for their achievements and not their proportions.”
Named the VS Collective, the new faces of VS are: Megan Rapinoe, 35, the US Women’s soccer player; Eileen Gu, 17, a freestyle skier bound for the Olympics; Paloma Elsesser, 29, a model and inclusivity advocate; Priyanka Chopra Jones, 38, actress and tech investor; Valentina Sampaio, 24, a trans model; Adut Akech, 21, a model; and Amanda de Cadenet, 29, a photographer and entrepreneur.
These seven women will be spearheading the brand’s makeover. They will act as brand ambassadors, promote VS on social media, and appear in ads. Moreover, they will advise the brand, the newly formed executive team, and the almost entirely female board of directors. These moves are to transform the brand into “a leading global ‘advocate’ for female empowerment.”
The company executives and the VS Collective both see the company’s makeover as a necessary and very late in coming decision.
“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Martin Waters, the newly appointed chief executive of the brand. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
“We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
Megan Rapinoe said the brand’s image was “patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired. And it was very much marketed toward younger women.” It was a “really harmful” message.
“I’ve known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven’t had the control of the company to be able to do it,” Mr. Waters said. He doesn’t see a benefit to keeping the Angels, as they are no longer “culturally relevant.”
The Victoria’s Secret Angels were created after Leslie H. Wexner bought the company in 1982. The supermodel Angels “helped shape society’s view of female sexuality and beauty ideals.” The Victoria’s Secret fashion show premiered in 1995 and aired on tv for almost 20 years.
So what will the brand look like moving forward? Retail stores will be “lighter and brighter” with mannequins in various sizes. The VS Angels imagery will be phased out, and while underwear and lingerie will still be sold, the new VS will include more sportswear and even nursing bras.
The fashion show will likely return in 2022, but with a very different look. And a VS Collective podcast is also in the works.
The big money question is will women buy into the new brand image? Or will the fall of the Angels also be the fall of the company?