Categories: Current Affairs

Angels, Cancellations and Drama

There won’t be any angels on the catwalk this year, or maybe even for the next few years — Victoria’s Secret has publicly announced that they are cancelling their well-known annual fashion show.

Rumours for the Victoria’s Secret Show being cancelled first started four months ago in July, when model Shanina Shaik revealed to the Daily Telegraph that the extravagant fashion show may not be happening this year. And now it’s official. The popular lingerie giant’s parent company, L Brands, confirmed the end of the holiday runway extravaganza in an earnings call on 21 November 2019, claiming that the decision was part of a move to “evolve the messaging of the company.”

There is no doubt the Fashion show’s cancellation is a business decision — but is it really just that, though?

Massive Decline In Sales And Ratings

The brand has expressed that the decision was due to the show being, in a way, redundant. While chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer praised the show for being a “remarkable marketing achievement,” he noted that the extravagant runway did not really impact and help short-term sales.

This makes sense for the company to move away from extravagant marketing methods. According to Fortune, sales have dropped seven per cent in the latest quarter compared to a two per cent fall during the same period last year. There was admittedly a small rise in the first quarter in 2018, but apart from that, the lingerie retailer basically has had falling sales every quarter since the fourth quarter in 2016. And it is not only sales numbers that are plummeting

In May, it was announced that the show would no longer be aired on network television after nearly two decades. This isn’t really a surprise, considering how TV ratings for the annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show fell to a historic low of just 3.3 million last year – a stark decline from 5 million viewers in 2017, 6.7 million in 2016 and more than 10 million viewers in 2011, according to Business Insider.

Drama Beyond Numbers

Now, here comes the interesting bit to this whole cancellation situation: the drop in viewership actually came a few months after Ed Razek, a top executive at Victoria’s Secret, mentioned in a Vogue interview that he didn’t think the brand should “have transsexuals” or plus-size models in the show because they didn’t sell. In the age of #MeToo, a comment like that doesn’t really sit well.

And not only that, Les Wexner, CEO of L Brands, has recently received scrutiny for his close connection to Jeffery Epstien, who served as Wexner’s financial adviser. The deal with Epstien? Being arrested for sex trafficking of underage girls. L Brands has repeatedly said it has no direct company ties to the convicted sex offender, but since news of that incident broke, L Brands shares dropped 10%.

At the end of it all, the cancellation seems like a smart move — and definitely for more reasons than one. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has long been criticised as a display of unattainable, unrealistic ideals of beauty. Now with the show’s halt and these dramas coming to light, it would be interesting to see how things would turn out for the lingerie brand.


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