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Victoria's Secret Is Bringing Back Its Fashion Show After All

Over the past few years, Victoria’s Secret has been undergoing a massive transformation, both internally and externally. As part of this, it put a hold on its once-iconic (and controversial) fashion show, which was a massive primetime production that ignited conversation around body image and diversity, in 2018. Now, almost six years later, it’s bringing it back — not as the pre-filmed format it toyed with last fall, but on a proper runway.

On Wednesday, the company announced the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show would indeed return, but that the new-and-improved version “will reflect who the brand is today, plus everything you know and love — the glamour, wings, musical entertainment and more,” according to a press release. 

The lingerie giant staged its first runway in 1985 as a way to grow its empire of undergarments and fragrances. Over the years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show grew into a television event with tens of millions of viewers, and helped launch the careers of models like Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Candice Swanepoel. (The latter appears in the single promotional image for the forthcoming Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.) It was largely the brain child of Ed Razek, the former chief marketing office at Victoria’s Secret’s former parent company L Brands; he controlled much of the event and, with creative partner Monica Mitro, anointed models with their sought-after wings. The executive, however, also became key domino in the brand’s downfall, most famously after disastrous Vogue interview in which he shared some unsavory comments on casting trans and plus-size models.

The last Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show as we knew it happened in 2018, shortly after that interview was published. (Razek left the company in the fall of 2019.) Around the same time, the brand faced many financial and (shockingly unrelated) PR troubles, namely around longtime leader Leslie Wexner’s association with Jeffrey Epstein. This was a perfect storm that triggered a flurry of changes: Wexner stepped down; Victoria’s Secret split from L Brands and became its own public company; the whole board was revamped. (The company’s now led by Martin Waters as CEO.) 

The brand went full-in on rehabilitating its image, laying its “angels” to rest and, in September 2021, launching the VS Collective, which was described at the time as “an ever-growing group of accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change.” Bringing back the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was never off the table, but it would need to be reimagined to align with these new values. In September 2023, it played with format by introducing a documentary-style film dubbed the “Victoria’s Secret: World Tour,” which put the spotlight a range of diverse models and creators. 

The when and where of the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has yet to be announced (other than it’s happening in the fall), but a question lingers: How will Victoria’s Secret redeem itself in the arena where it was most visibly problematic? 

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