Tonight, for the very first time, I actually watched the entire Victoria’s Secret show. Before that, I used to watch parts of it on Youtube, just to know what it was about. I don’t know if I said it before, but growing up in a French environment, VS wasn’t really my idea of lingerie. I remember in high school, there was this relatively wealthy girl, that was always bragging about buying VS perfumes and lingerie “directly from the states”. Since she sounded so excited about it, I once decided to take a look at their website and was hugely underwhelmed by the amount of T-shirt bras I saw. I wasn’t impressed at all by their beauty products either. So after this moment, I stopped expecting anything special from the brand. 

[2018 Fantasy bra. Victoria’s secret x Swarowski]

When I moved to Canada, I had the opportunity for the first time to visit a VS store. To be honest, despite not loving their products, I still loved the girly-ness of the stores. It was just so nice to be in such a huge lingerie store. In France, we mostly have small brick and mortars, or the lingerie section of the Galerie Lafayette. It can be intimidating as a teenager to go inside a serious French lingerie store. Especially if you are on a budget. In VS store, you feel like it’s fine to be there just to have a look and enjoy being around pretty things. I eventually got a couple of things from them over the years, although they don’t carry my bust size.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

I always had issues with the company marketing strategy, as well as their work ethics.
While everybody is talking about change in the fashion industry, Victoria’s secret seems to be firmly sticking to its previous position. It feels like the company doesn’t believe in other beauty standards than what they have been showing since 1995.

As an introduction to this year show, the models talked about self-love and self-confidence and how they didn’t care about other people judgement. A lot of emphasis has been put on the hard work of the angels to stay “fit” and how happy they were to see their efforts paying off. It felt like this show was supposed to be perceived as a celebration for the models and for the public sheering up for them. I imagine that the company wanted to prove that the show was about women empowerment.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

From my point of view, this supposedly deep message felt flat and insincere. I am not saying that these models shouldn’t love themselves but considering what they have to go through to be where they are, I am not sure if that is a definition of self-love and acceptation I want to embrace. Despite all this work out, it seems that the company still doesn’t wants them to show visible muscles or body fat that wouldn’t be located on their breasts.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

I couldn’t help but notice that they also really wanted to show off their black and asian models, which in itself could be great, but shouldn’t give them an excuse to not have any other type of diversity. I have to say that being a lingerie blogger exposes me every day to a lot of different body types. To the point that I no longer have a clear standard in mind.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

Though, tonight, for the first time since I don’t know when, I was shocked by the conformity in the models bodies. I know models conformity is common in fashion, but since lingerie is more revealing, it was even more striking. The weird part was that almost all the women artists performing looked like they could absolutely never be modelling on VS scene. In a nutshell, the gap felt even bigger between the bodies I am used to see and the VS angels bodies.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

Looking like these models seemed to be the ultimate goal and reward a few years ago for any teen who aspired to be a model. Yet, they have been so many rumours and verified facts about the Angels diet before the show. As a relatively confident and stable young woman, I can now see that I don’t want that for myself. I wish VS didn’t insist so much this year on how hard it was for the models to remain thin and “fit” for the show. What seemed brave and amazing 10 years ago isn’t such a good look in 2018. And really, I am not blaming the models. They sure worked hard.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

The design and styling

As I said before, I had never watched the entire show before so I couldn’t spot all the differences and similarities compared to the previous ones. However, despite this fact, I still had the impression that I had seen these looks before. Being a lingerie addict, when I watch a fashion show, I expect to be moved in some ways. I want to feel the need to see the pieces in person by the end of the show. I cannot say that I am excited enough by what I have seen.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

Slightly strappy, shiny push-ups bras, T-shirt bras, tartan prints… While some of these things are in trend at this time of the year, the actual interpretation/execution wasn’t outstanding. I didn’t feel anything special looking at them. Actually, I found some sets almost ugly. (Like this weird bra with silver “faux longline” and floral lace worn by Bella Hadid. Really?)

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show. VS x Mary Katrantzou]

I actually liked the collaboration with Mary Katrantzou. I previously thought it would be a swimwear line since the crop tops reminded me of the sleeved bikini trend. However it seems that the wired crop tops are actually clothing. They also featured leggings that looked pretty fun.

As usual a big part of the collection we saw during the show will never be available to customers, and I am a bit sad that some items from this particular collaboration didn’t make it into their shop. Like, look at these cool floral gloves?!

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

I think my favorite things about VS shows are the things that will never be available to purchase. Adriana Lima wore this glorious top (above picture) and I love how it “elevates” the basic brief she wore with it.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

Looking at this show really reminded me that VS is a brand that targets teenage customers and young adults. There is such a big difference between the fashion pieces the models wore and the actual products they try to advertise. However, this year, I felt like they didn’t try hard enough to put on a show that would be memorable. I know I will not remember half of the pieces they featured.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

To be honest, the highlight of the show for me was the stellar inspired part when we saw these WONDERFUL boots. I really want these boots so bad. Like, I am actually in love. Other beautiful pieces were this embellished bolero worn by Kendall Jenner and obviously this catsuit that looks like body jewellery. I really hope the brand will expose these pieces in one of their biggest stores. They must have taken so long to be made and are obviously out of their price range. But really I enjoyed seeing them tonight.

[ Photo credit: Victoria Secret 2018 Fashion show]

Final thoughts

Overall, I feel like VS efforts to save face after the awful interview of Ed Razek and Monica Mitro didn’t really show through with this show. Of course they tried, but it didn’t feel genuine. While previous shows had this magical holidays vibe, I didn’t feel it this time. It could be because I am older, and not impressed by the same things anymore, or it could be because it just wasn’t original. Even the fantasy bra felt a bit bland.

While everybody’s looking for a great bralette, VS is still trying to force the idea that push-ups are the way to go on their customers. They still make their model parade like they are trying to seduce the males in the audience and they still don’t include different body shapes.

The brand definitely has the power and money to improve their situation, so I hope next show will be surprising and show a genuine will to reach their customers.

What did you think of this year show? What was your favorite part?

Yours truly,
Wen


4 Replies to “Thoughts on Victoria’s secret 2018 Fashion show: uninspired much?”

  1. That is a superb summary and article of the VS show. I have never been drawn to their designs – as you say, they don’t seem to have heart or soul in them. But I also cannot get past their image of womanhood, which is so stale and formulaic. This is how women are “supposed” to be perceived by the patriarchal culture – pretty, young, unrealistic bodies, and sexualised for the male gaze. There is so little here that chimes with the image of modern womanhood that we see in other brands. Thanks for writing this – I really enjoyed it.

  2. I loved reading your thoughts. I am a new reader on your blog and I completely agree with what you wrote.

    I have actually always watched the VSFS and even record the show to watch many times; this year has been their most uninspiring show to date.

    The interviews with the models about them being “empowered” and being “true to who they are” felt super fake and contrived in my opinion. It so so superficial it was just nonsense to put that in to pretend they really care about “empowering women.”

    The only “slightly” different bodies/body types that I could see portrayed belonged to Adriana and Barbara Palvin. All of the models shocked me by being so thin. I guess it shows you what it takes to be in their show. To me if felt like they were perpetuating so many unrealistic beauty standards for young girls and women at a time when we have seen so much change in public opinion and more inclusiveness by other lingerie brands. For a supposed industry leader, this feels so out of touch and behind it was just sad.

    Ed Razek’s comments were also very disappointing and kinda showed me who this brand truly is. I hope the brand will learn from them and use this a turning point to change the brand in a positive direction.

  3. You nailed it with your review—so much so that I don’t feel I missed out by not watching it! 😂 I just can’t stand seeing only one (unachievable) body type. You’re spot on about VS pushing their add-a-cup-size bras on customers. Only pre-teens and teenagers buy those! They don’t make anywhere near enough unlined lace bras and their sizing is so limited. I spill out of their 34DDD bras. I feel like they’re going to be a relic of the past if they don’t embrace diversity as more than just tokenism. Thanks for your in depth coverage!

  4. I concur with your assessments.

    Over the years I have watched Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie shows become more and more of a spectacle laced with more and more public relations spin. This year was no different in that it was scripted for some models to shake the bottoms they didn’t have, leaving me to wonder, as usual, what the point of that action is? To their credit they did show a gong being struck – but they didn’t seem to get their own symbolic message. I also liked some of the miniskirts that were modelled – but they aren’t lingerie.

    I have also not loved Victoria’s Secret’s overuse of feathers (I’m a vegetarian) for those ridiculous “angel” wings that often obstruct the back view of their lingerie, though I always loved the fact that Victoria’s Secret had their lingerie fashion runway shows broadcast on Television and shown on the Jumbotron in Times Square in Manhattan.

    I suspect that Victoria’s Secret’s recent attempts to stress the health of their models are an attempt to fend off some of the deservedly harsh criticism they have received in the past.
    In my August 2, 2010 post titled “Anorexia and Bulimia Claim Lives” I embedded a video uploaded by by Lane Bryant, lampooning Victoria’s Secret’s use of anorexic models by showing literal skeletons modelling lingerie.
    Although Victoria’s Secret has tried to fend off some of that criticism, they obviously still cling to a very outdated, warped, and narrow-minded view of beauty.

    In May of 2014 I blogged about the good experiences I had shopping for babydoll tops at a Victoria’s Secret store. Unfortunately there were no full coverage nylon panties to be found anywhere in their store. Fortunately I didn’t see any lingerie covered in rhinestones or feathers in their store either. I did, however, love their spotlessly clean dressing rooms and their very helpful and friendly employees. I had good experiences shopping their, except for not finding the kind of lingerie I was looking for other than the babydoll tops.

    While many of the V.S. lingerie fashions might look okay as outerwear on the street or on a Las Vegas stage (maybe their designers got their ideas there over a few martinis?), most of the designs did not look anything like lingerie for the boudoir, and were definitely not anything I’d want to wear under my clothes or to bed – they don’t look comfortable. I look for comfort and feel in addition to pretty looks in lingerie – and like to feel good when I wear mine to bed.

    Sadly, Victoria’s Secret’s management has placed most of their focus on advertising, public relations and hype, while spending way too little time and focus on the quality of their fabrics, elastic, fit of their lingerie, and the stocking what’s shown in their catalogs on the shelves of their stores in sizes that might fit most of their would-be customers.

    My suggestions for Victoria’s Secret would be:
    1) Lose the feathers, rhinestones and sequins;
    2) Invest in quality fabrics, elastic, dyes, tailors, and seamstresses.
    3) Swap their public relations and advertising people for people who actually know and love lingerie.

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