The Victoria's Secret Angels era is officially over: the lingerie company announced this week that it will be revamping its branding and collaborating with celebrities
such as Priyanka Chopra
and Megan Rapinoe
in the future.
According to The New York Times
, the brand is bringing in a group of seven women
, including Chopra and Rapinoe, to be part of the VS Collective, where the women will “alternately advise the brand, appear in ads, and promote Victoria’s Secret on Instagram
.” The company also has “an entirely new executive team and is forming a board of directors
in which all but one seat will be occupied by women.”
According to a press release from the Collective, the group will “work
to create new associate programs, revolutionary product collections, compelling and inspiring
content, and rally support for causes vital to women” through “social, cultural, and business
Skier Eileen Gu, model and body
positivity advocate Paloma Elsesser, trans
model Valentina Sampaio, model and South Sudanese refugee Adut Akech, and Amanda de Cadenet, photographer and founder of #Girlgaze, a digital platform for female photographers, will also be part of the VS Collective.
Because the company was notorious for selling overtly sexy merchandise modeled on women with impossibly perfect bodies, the end of the Victoria's Secret Angels was dubbed "the most extreme and unabashed attempt at a brand turnaround in recent memory" by the New York Times.
The announcement came after the company canceled its iconic — and contentious — fashion
show in 2019 after consumers and advocates had been pleading with the company for years to increase its size offerings and to showcase more body diversity
on the runway.
Martin Waters, the former head of Victoria's Secret's international business who was appointed CEO
of the brand in February, told the Times: "When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond; we needed to stop being about what men wanted and start being about what women wanted."
Many conservative voices criticized the brand's decision to align itself with outspoken feminists like Rapinoe, and while some women's advocates praised the decision, others questioned the brand's motives and its ability to succeed.
I was having dinner with a friend, so here are my thoughts:1) Any rebrand without a size expansion is doomed.2) I don't think this new VS Council or whatever it's called will change Victoria's secret brand credibility, but it may harm the image of those associated with it. https://t.co/T1YQZTpwzp
— Cora Harrington (@lingerie_addict) June 17, 2021
Some of the dumbest people
run the most powerful corporations on the planet, and it's hilarious to watch
them destroy themselves.Megan Rapinoe?? Nobody likes feminists. Nobody. Even other feminists despise feminists. They're the least appealing people on the planet. https://t.co/4C2i7z2mMx
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) June 16, 2021
Ask ANY woman how a Victoria Secret ad with angels makes her feel. If it was working, they wouldn't change it. — Christopher Moore (@TheAuthorGuy) June 16, 2021
Stay in your lane, my dude. https://t.co/A5T85n9xt0
pic.twitter.com/wE3hdeqJQU — Kelley (@pbandkcg) June 16, 2021
— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) June 16, 2021
?? the angels/wings and an ideal beauty standard are literally what Victoria's Secret is https://t.co/sxRq84gXWo
— destiny (@diorswh4re) June 16, 2021
Victoria's Secret is overdue for a rebrand, and I adore Megan Rapinoe and Priyanka Chopra https://t.co/Q3Dbv1kSsR
— Atima Omara (@atima_omara) June 17, 2021
Victoria's Secret is no stranger to controversy, with scandals surrounding the brand owner's ties to late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein
and complaints of toxicity within the company swirling for years.
According to interviews with more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors, and models, as well as court filings and other documents, Victoria’s Secret has a history
of “misogyny, bullying
, and harassment,” according to a 2020 New York Times report.
In response, over 100 models signed an open letter to then-Victoria's Secret CEO John Mehas, pleading with him to act.
“We believe that this moment can serve as a wake-up call for Victoria’s Secret,” read the letter.