It’s the end of an era over at Victoria’s Secret. On Friday, the retailer told employees that its annual fashion show will no longer be televised. The last Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that aired on network TV took place in December 2018, where Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Leomie Anderson, and more made appearances on the catwalk.
According to The New York Times, Leslie Wexner, CEO of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, sent out a memo to workers outlining the changes.
“Fashion is a business of change,” Wexner wrote. “We must evolve and change to grow. With that in mind, 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.”
He explained that the retailer is shifting its focus to develop “a new kind of event,” but he did not offer up more information about what that event might look like.
end of an era: the Victoria’s Secret fashion show will stop airing on network television, associates were told in a Friday memo. first aired on network TV in 2001 on ABC. pic.twitter.com/4VKH8fZR0e— Sapna Maheshwari (@sapna) May 10, 2019
The VS Fashion show has been a pop culture fixture since 2001, coinciding with the brand’s rise in popularity, especially among young women. Everyone from Rihanna to Lady Gaga to Taylor Swift has performed at the annual event, which drew in nearly 10 million viewers at its peak in 2013. Last year, that number plummeted to just above 3 million viewers, reports the Times.
The sparkly showcase of lingerie has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, largely due to scandals of the retailer’s own making and what appeared to be an outright policy against inclusivity. Last year, L Brands' chief marketing officer Ed Razek revealed to Vogue that Victoria’s Secret would not consider featuring more diversity in their model cast, like plus size and transgender models.
Razek said: "Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is."
A few days later, Razek walked back his comments on Twitter and in a statement said: “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings...And like many others, they didn’t make it. It was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
Refinery29 has reached out to Victoria’s Secret for comment and we’ll update this story if we receive a response.