This is the 2018
Victoria Secret Fashion Show.
The hour-long nationally-televised event
has served as a showcase
for the brand’s bras and lingerie since 2001.
But 2018 was the fashion show’s last broadcast.
The show had suffered several years of declining ratings,
that coincided with the drastic rise
then fall of the stock price of Victoria’s Secret parent company, L Brands.
Here’s how the lingerie retailer,
Angels and all,
rose to the top of women’s fashion,
and how its fall from grace
has created an uncertain future for the company.
In 1982, L Brands owner Leslie Wexner
1982年 L Brands老板莱斯利·维克斯纳
acquired Victoria’s Secret,
a small retailer consisting of six stores
and a catalog for $1 million.
Wexner developed many successful retail businesses
in the 1980s and ’90s.
He popularized the specialty mall retailer,
which had tightly-focused product lines
and carefully-designed stores,
and he took those stores
and rolled them out to malls across the country.
That model really upended the department store model.
In the mid 1990s,
Victoria’s Secret’s heavily-padded Miracle Bra,
designed to create cleavage,
was vying for market share with its competitor,
Only Victoria’s Secret has the Miracle Bra.
Get a Miracle Bra.
Victoria’s Secret doubled down on ads
with provocative TV commercials
and launched its first fashion show in 1995.
Victoria’s Secret tried to define what sexy was
and what a sexy woman should look like,
and you can really see by the ads
that they were pushing a very specific beauty ideal.
That image was executed
by L Brands Chief Marketing Officer Edward Razek,
who was put in charge of casting models for the fashion show.
Throughout the 2000s,
Leslie Wexner sold many of his apparel brands
and focused more and more on his lingerie and beauty lines.
This included launching PINK in 2004,
a Victoria’s Secret spinoff for teens.
Unlike many other retailers,
Victoria’s Secret continued to grow
after the 2008 recession.
The retailer opened more stores and sales expanded,
and L Brands stock price rose until 2016.
That’s when you really started to see trouble
for the company as consumer tastes started to shift .
Athleisure began to dominate fashion
and growth began to slow in Victoria’s Secret’s bra business.
This was driven in part by consumers preferring bralettes,
bras with no underwire or padding.
There was a shift in what female consumers wanted
from their underwear and what they were willing to pay.
Many younger women didn’t wanna pay $60 anymore
for a padded bra that they saw on a supermodel.
Many of them preferred stuff
like more authentic marketing,
natural looks, and bras built for comfort.
In 2016, Leslie Wexner assumed
direct control of Victoria’s Secret
He eliminated swimwear, stopped mailing out catalogs,
and doubled down on sports bras.
By 2018, L Brands share price had fallen 50%,
2018年 L Brands的股价仍下跌50%
erasing about $14 billion in investor’s wealth.
Victoria’s Secret started to appear out of touch
with female consumers around the same time.
A major stumbling block for Victoria’s Secret
was when Ed Razek told Vogue
that he didn’t think transgender models
should be cast in the fashion show.
He was forced to apologize for those remarks,
and a lot of people called for his resignation immediately.
He actually stayed on a while after that
and eventually resigned in 2019.
Victoria’s Secret’s internal culture and management
has come under scrutiny as well.
Ed Razek, after he left Victoria’s Secret,
has faced allegations of harassing models and employees,
and Les Wexner has come under fire
for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein,
who was his longtime money manager.
– [Narrator] Leslie Wexner has said that he cut ties
with Epstein more than a decade ago
after Epstein was charged with child sex trafficking.
Independent directors on the L Brands Board
responded to the sexual harassment allegations in a statement
that said the company had instituted robust anti-harassment policies in recent years
and the company regrets any instance
where we did not achieve this objective
of a safe, welcoming, and empowering workplace.
Razek told the New York Times
that the allegations were, quote, “categorically untrue,
misconstrued, or taking out of context.”
Consumers have a very particular idea of
what Victoria’s Secret is.
It’ll be interesting to see whether a brand
that’s married to such a particular type of marketing
can transform itself into anything else.
[pleasant orchestral music]
This is the 2018