The annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, known for its jewel-encrusted bras and supermodels sporting huge angel wings, will no longer be aired on network television.
Parent company L Brands Inc said on Friday it was re-thinking the TV special, saying the Victoria’s Secret brand "must evolve and change to grow" as it aims to turn its business around.
"For the past few months, we’ve said that we are taking a fresh look at every aspect of our business," the company said in a memo sent to employees by Chief Executive Les Wexner. Screenshots of the memo were posted online. The memo was first reported by CNBC.
"We have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit," Wexner said.
The decision follows growing criticism of the television broadcast – which features models such as Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Alessandra Ambrosio and Lily Aldridge walking the runway in skimpy underwear – as sexist and out of touch.
Victoria’s Secret, once the go-to retailer for all things lingerie, has been losing customers as more women shift to cheaper bralettes and sports bras from companies such as American Eagle Outfitter’s (AEO.N) Aerie. Pop singer Rihanna’s lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, has also taken market share away from the struggling retailer.
Edward Razek, L Brands chief marketing officer, prompted a furor last year when he said there was no room for plus-size or transgender models "because the show is a fantasy."
Television audiences for the show have slumped in the last few years. The December 2018 show, aired on Walt Disney Co’s ABC network, was watched by 3.3 million Americans, compared with 12 million in 2001 when it was first broadcast on television.