Victoria’s Secret debuted The Tour ’23 with a preview of their new concept film, as Doechii and Goyo performed, in a pivotal moment for the lingerie brand on a steamy Wednesday, one night before New York Fashion Week opened.
Naomi Campbell even read a poem to open proceedings inside The Manhattan Center, after strolling around historic show space near Madison Square Garden. Gigi Hadid performed as MC.
The event came five days after figures revealed that Victoria’s Secret swung to a net loss of $1 million in the latest quarter, on the back of a 6% slump in net sales to $1.427 billion. The one bright spark was foreign sales, experiencing 25% growth compared to last year, according to CEO Martin Waters.
Hence, The Tour ’23, which featured 20 creatives – artists, fashion designers, musicians and performers – culled from four far distant cities – Lagos, London, Tokyo and Bogotá.
The brand’s North America stores are still very much in a challenging moment, due to rivals like Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, and changing sensibilities where Victoria’s Secret’s previously outlandish mega runway shows with super models started looking outdated, sexist and transphobic in the MeToo era.
The brand also remains tainted with its connection with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein from the 1990s when he served as an adviser to Les Wexner, Victoria’s Secret then chief executive, and tried to pose as a recruiter for the brand to have access to young models.
To their credit, the brand has worked hard to mend its image, and this event was crammed with trans gender models and artists and scores of plus sized models. The Tour ‘23 turned out to be a series of flattering vignettes of diverse young artists shot in lush color and interspersed with models like Adut Akech, Adwoa Aboah, Candice Swanepoel, Guinevere van Seenus, Lily Aldridge, Winnie Harlow, Paloma Elsesser and Imaan Hammam wandering around a Rationalist style modernist monument.
The Tour ‘23 gang christened the VS20 – Aoi Yamada, Bubu Ogisi, Cristina Sánchez Salamanca Ebun Sodipo, Eloghosa Osunde, Goyo, Jen Fang, Kaito Itsuki, KOM-I, Korty Eniola Olanrewaju, Lorena Torres, Margot Bowman, Melissa Valdés Duque, Michaela Stark, Phoebe Collings James, Piisciis Canizales, Supriya Lele, Umi Ishihara, Wavy The Creator – took a joint bow at the finale before a brand signature pink bulbous column. Behind which were hung several score of famous outfits worn by “Angels” in earlier VS shows.
Pre-show Campbell posed for photos with the likes of Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Brooke Shields, before gracing the evening by reading a poem, which included such immortal lines as: “Do not look a star in the eye if you still want to live. When walking on bad mirrors, dance into the night until your spirit becomes sugary, until your eyes become blue.” Wordsworth and Whitman are clearly not under any threat.
Strangely, there was little precious lingerie or intimate gear in the movie, but lots being worn by the guests, which in a sense is the best compliment to this brand. They have made innerwear as outerwear the go-to choice of clothing when heat waves hit New York.
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