Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will return in the fall after four-year hiatus

The "angels" are returning to the runway.

Victoria's Secret said Wednesday that its once-celebrated fashion show will return after the retailer canceled it in 2019 due to poor ratings and a slew of controversies.

The lingerie brand, which was founded in 1977, was the subject of a 2020 New York Times investigation that detailed an alleged culture of misogyny at the company. A spokesperson for L Brands, the former parent company of Victoria’s Secret, told the publication at the time that it's “'intensely focused' on corporate governance, workplace and compliance practices and that it had 'made significant strides.'"

Victoria's Secret has also faced criticism for its lack of inclusivity. In November 2018, Ed Razek, then-chief marketing officer for L Brands, came under fire for saying that he did not think the brand should include “transsexuals” in its runway show.

The company split from L Brands in 2021 and has since made efforts to revamp its approach and become relevant to women again. It overhauled its image and incorporated more diverse, body-positive models in its campaigns, including the launch of a revamped, partially revived filmed version of a fashion show for Prime Video in 2023.

“We’ve read the comments and heard you,” the company wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is BACK and will reflect who we are today, plus everything you know and love—the glamour, runway, wings, musical entertainment, and more! Stay tuned…it only gets more iconic from here.”

The announcement comes as the body positivity movement — a belief system of self-acceptance regardless of body type — is at a crossroads.

The movement began to take its current form on social media around 2012, when it first began popping up on Instagram, according to research from the National Library of Medicine. It continued to grow online, with the pandemic helping give rise to more creators who post about everything from plus-size fashion tips to body confidence advice.

But amid a boom in demand for a new crop of semaglutide-based weight loss drugs, some creators have said they feel body positivity has once again taken a back seat to attitudes they consider to be part of "diet culture," which refers to a set of ideas that hold weight loss and thinness as ideals and falsely assumes they are necessary for good health. The return of diet culture has manifested both online and offline, as fashion trends like “heroin chic” resurge and brands like Old Navy roll back their inclusive sizing.

Influencer Remi Bader, who has been vocal about size inclusivity in fashion, on Tuesday posted a video on TikTok reflecting on what she described as a "clear shift" in the past three years.

"Inclusivity at that time was very trendy," she said. "And that's when brands were like 'shoot, we need to hop on that bandwagon right now and not be the last ones that are going to be called out for not being inclusive...'"

Now, Bader, who in 2022 was named a VS brand ambassador, said she thinks brands are "backing away from some of these initiatives."

Bader did not name any brands specifically in the video. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some influencers who tout body acceptance at any size — including Ella Halikas, Kristina Zias and Raeann Langas — were among those celebrating the return of Victoria’s Secret’s fashion show in comments on the Instagram post. Many influencers have partnered with the brand in recent years.

In August 2023, Victoria’s Secret shared a post on its website under its brand values, entitled “We Represent All Women.”

“We have moved from promoting an exclusionary view of what’s sexy, to celebrating all women throughout every phase of their lives,” the brand wrote. “We will continue this work and look to be an industry leader in retail innovation, fashion, sustainability, and continuous ingenuity—getting to the heart of what our diverse customer base wants.”

Still, the company has not performed well since revamping its image. Since going public in 2021, Victoria’s Secret stock has lost nearly half its value, falling from about $42 to $21 per share.

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Victoria's Secret echoed the brand's Instagram announcement, and said that the 2024 fashion show will "deliver precisely what our customers have been asking for."

The company "is focused on celebrating and supporting all women, and that won’t change anytime soon," the spokesperson added.

The date of the show has not yet been announced.

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