Social media intensely reacts to Victoria's Secret nixing Angels for Priyanka Chopra and Megan Rapinoe
Contested fashion brand Victoria's Secret sparked yet another firestorm on social media after it became known the lingerie company was ditching its iconic Angels runway collective in favor of women "famous for their performance, not their proportions," according to it the New York Times.
The label announced to the publication that it was with actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, Chinese-American freestyle skier Eileen Gu, photographer and #Girlgaze founder Amanda de Cadenet, transmodel Valentina Sampaio, a South Sudanese Refugee turned fashion industry success story worked together with Adut Akech, biracial model Paloma Elsesser, who got a lot of attention when she appeared on the cover of Vogue in size 14 and more as part of her new, inclusive VS Collective initiative.
"When the world changed, we were too slow to react," said Chief Brand Executive Martin Waters, addressing longstanding criticism of the brand for its lack of integration and specific focus on the male imagination with its advertising campaigns and catwalk show. "We had to stop being interested in what men want and what women want."
John Shearer / Getty Images; Harry How / Getty Images Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Megan Rapino are part of the new Victoria's Secret Collective.
The VS Collective will replace the Angels - a line of curvy models like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks who helped catapult the brand into the mainstream stratosphere - as they advise and promote the brand through ads and on Instagram while the company is shuffling its management team around positions that are mostly filled with women.
Rapinoe, who revealed that she was initially curious about why the brand would want to partner with her given her track record of representation, said the brand's past identity was "really harmful" to women and represented a "patriarchal, sexist" perspective, marketed to young women, "not just what it means to be sexy, but what clothing wanted to achieve through a male lens and what men wanted." After the label recently launched a rare Mother's Day campaign with a pregnant model - something it has rarely done in the past - Rapinoe and Chopra Jonas are working on adding new clothes to the Victoria's Secret line for launch next spring.
Similarly, Elsesser added that she "didn't start modeling just to do all the cool things" but "changed the world" with "radical change." She will initially work to ensure that Victoria's Secret increases the size from the current maximum of 42 G in bras and XXL in nightwear to XXXXXL.
Social media reacted quickly to the brand's reorientation, with conservative pundits citing the move as an offer to target the “community” demographic and others, like lingerie expert Cora Harrington, pointing out that “any rebranding without DOA size expansion is ".
However, financial expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox celebrated the announcement in general.
"If [Megan Rapinoe] can rock a swimsuit like this (photographed by Sports Illustrated) why on earth can't she be a Victoria's Secret model?" she tweeted. "She is hot. Just look at them! Or do you just have a problem with strong, outspoken, empowered women? "
Writer Erin Ryan reduced it to a matter of practicality: "A better way for Victoria's secret to refresh its brand would be to try to change it by making quality bras that fit comfortably and look good," she wrote.
Alongside the backlash against its previous marketing, the brand, which was founded in 1977 and bought by retail billionaire Leslie H. Wexner in 1982, came under fire for Wexner's ties to Jeffrey Epstein as well as an alleged corporate culture that is "rooted" in. Misogyny, bullying and harassment, "according to a New York Times research.
Former Wexner Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek also drew public anger over his comments on being included in the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, telling Vogue in 2018 that the company would not consider trans models in to record the program. Recording artist Halsey - who appeared before Razek's comments at the fashion show earlier this year - later spoke out against the project in a statement saying she had "no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity".
At that time, CEO Jan Singer resigned from the company, and the Times says Wexner and Razek will not be part of the new Victoria's Secret vision in the future, which is to include a revised version of the fashion show - currently on hiatus since 2018 - sometime in 2022.
Hear more about all of today's must-see highlights and what Kevin Hart has seen lately on EW's What to Watch podcast hosted by Gerrad Hall.
Halsey Criticizes Victoria's Secret Fashion Show After Controversy
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In this article:
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Indian actress and singer
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