Women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes. This is showcased in Victoria’s Secret’s campaign for its Spring 2020 “Body by Victoria” line, which debuted on March 19. The campaign photos prove that Victoria’s Secret is making an effort to evolve into a more inclusive and representative brand. To model the line’s neutral colors, classic cuts and lacy patterns, a diverse lineup of models was enlisted for the job.
The brand’s Instagram is usually filled with a stream of pink underwear and mainly white waifish models have taken on a different look. The models are racially diverse and smiling, the colours are calming and neutral, the lingerie is styled in a noticeably looser way. There’s a visual undertone of female solidarity, and the captions are relaying messages of beauty ideals that are open rather than prescriptive. There has also been a cultural shift in what buyers want from lifestyle companies. Social-media savvy shoppers no longer want to be sold aspirations and push-up bras, but rather see themselves in the brand they’re buying. Yet Victoria’s Secret’s attempts to push towards a more diverse idea of beauty still don’t sit right with its recent history. The main issues remain structural, where Wexner was in charge of a company that was supposed to cater for women but was run entirely by men. This stride towards diversity and inclusivity seems a bit disingenuous but there is an effort shown by the brand to evolve.
Earlier this week, the lingerie company revealed the spring campaign for its Body by Victoria line which showcases a cast of trans, plus-size and older models. Among the lineup was Valentina Sampaio, the company’s first openly transgender Angel, curvy models Candice Huffine and Solange van Doorn, and older icons such as supermodel Helena Christensen, who also shot the campaign.The shift comes after remarks by former executive Ed Razek incited outrage in 2018, where he said the company didn’t need to hire trans models because the show is meant to be a fantasy for their male viewers. Although he apologized afterwards the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was canceled this year. The new line however features not only trans models but plus-sized models. This a bold move for Victoria’s Secret as the brand is notoriously known for casting petite and conventionally attractive models
The campaign also represents women of all backgrounds as the modeling industry fights for more representation. Other fellow Victoria Secret Angels, Barbara Palvin and Romee Strijd, posed for the collection that highlighted the models’ natural beauty and bodies, rather than distract from it with over-the-top embellishments and excessive colors.
The brand’s slow paced stride toward change has felt less like a generational blindspot and more like a stubborn refusal to roll with the times. The catwalks of 2020 are less white, young and “thin” than the body ideals that Victoria’s Secret has long promoted, and the edgiest contemporary fashion brands embrace inclusivity and diversity. With all the controversy surrounding Victoria’s Secret, their annual fashion show will no longer happen in 2020 and in the coming years for the foreseeable future.