Victoria’s Secret is out — and this time, she’s got something for everyone. After months of preemptive buzz and celebrity collabs, on Wednesday, the once-embattled legacy lingerie brand celebrated its rebranding with a special screening of “The Tour 2023,” its revamped fashion show premiering on Prime Video on Sept. 26.
After struggling in recent years to meet consumer demands for diversity, inclusion and relevance, the brand and a bevy of celebs were out in force at New York City’s Manhattan Center, ready to help usher Victoria’s Secret into its inclusive era.
Wednesday’s crowd was refreshingly diverse, highlighting not only a variety of skin tones and body types but also gender identities, expressions, and physical abilities — sometimes, all at once. Demonstrating the brand’s enduring impact, Naomi Campbell was in attendance, as were Doja Cat, Lori Harvey, Winnie Harlow, Alton Mason, Ziwe Fumudoh, Yaya DaCosta, Aaron Rose Philip, and Doechii, the latter of whom performed at Wednesday night’s event.
“I remember going into Victoria’s Secret with my mom and being so enamored by the glitter and bras and panties and lingerie,” the “Persuasive” rapper told Women’s Wear Daily. “So to be here in it, finally as a woman, it feels like a manifestation.”
Philip, an Antiguan-American model who is transgender and physically disabled, agreed, endorsing the brand’s newfound accessibility as a welcome evolution.
“I love VS because they’ve really stepped it up to where at this point in their journey as a brand, they’re so accepting to everyone,” she told WWD.
To Philip’s point, while many of the red carpet’s predominantly sheer and black ensembles were accessorized with wings, in place of the once-famed and famously taut Victoria’s Secret “Angels” were members of the VS Collective. The consortium of brand ambassadors currently includes new mom Naomi Osaka, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Adut Akech, and Paloma Elsesser, among others. Also in attendance was much of “The Tour 2023” cast, which includes Campbell, model Imaan Hammam, and Adwoa Aboah, a top model and mental health advocate who is more than ready to see a new generation of angels take flight.
“There’s this idea that when Victoria’s Secret decided that they wanted a change that no one wanted to have the wings anymore,” Aboah told WWD. “But actually, there’s something to say about who’s wearing the wings. I saw girls — trans girls, Black girls, bigger girls, Asian — I saw so many different girls trying on these wings, walking in Victoria’s Secret clothes, and that was an amazing moment for me,” she continued.
“Because what’s important is how can we redefine sexiness, whatever the word is, whatever we associate with underwear, how can we redefine that to feel more like it relates to us, instead of something that’s just thrown onto us by mass media.”
Instead, Victoria’s Secret will throw their consumers into “The Tour Experience,” an immersive installation slated to unveil on the top floor of its New York City flagship in conjunction with the premiere of “The Tour.”
“It’s fashion, it’s art and it’s entertainment,” explained Albert Gilkey, senior vice president of store design and construction at Victoria’s Secret, to WWD. “This space is an extension of that reimagination.
Featuring a bar with beverages inspired by VS fragrances and desserts created by chef Sumaiya Bangee, the space promises to offer a unique retail experience. However, the main attraction will undoubtedly be the looks on display from this year’s show “created by four designers from Lagos; Tokyo; Bogotà, Colombia; and London,” reports WWD. The brand’s legacy will also have a place, as “the designers also looked to the Victoria’s Secret archives to reimagine some of the best-known Angel wings that have been presented in past shows.”
“It’s a sensorial experience that we’re excited to just share with the customer,” said Gilkey. “It’s a pleasure to be able to do that for the brand and just for the customer. We’re a new Victoria’s Secret, and that’s what we’re celebrating. The Tour is the ultimate expression of our brand transformation.”
Maiysha Kai is theGrio’s lifestyle editor, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades of experience in fashion and entertainment, great books, and the brilliance of Black culture. She is also the editor-author of Body: Words of Change series.
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