The 2019 Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been cancelled, according to reports. While nothing has yet to be officially announced by the brand, VS regular Shanina Shaik seemingly confirmed the news during a recent interview.
The model, who is a longtime ambassador for the lingerie retailer, has appeared in the catwalk show seven times since making her debut in 2011.
“Unfortunately the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year,” she told the Australian Daily Telegraph in July. “It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an angel.”
The 28-year-old added that she doesn’t think it’s a permanent decision (so there may well be a VS fashion show 2020), and that the cancellation of this year’s event was likely due to the organisers “trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show, because it’s the best show in the world”.
Prior to Shaik’s comments, it was previously reported that the show would no longer be broadcast on television – but there was nothing yet to suggest that it wouldn’t be happening at all.
Earlier this year, Leslie Wexner, chief executive of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, confirmed that the show wouldn’t be broadcast on network TV.
“We have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” he wrote in an email sent to fellow employees. “Going forward, we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”
He also noted that the show, which was traditionally broadcast via US network giants ABS and CBS, “must evolve and change to grow”. With this in mind, he wrote, L Brands hopes to create “a new kind of event”.
The news comes amid falling viewing figures, as the once-popular television event only drew in 3.3 million viewers last year in comparison to five million the previous year – making it a record low for the lingerie giant.
For almost two decades, fashion followers from across the globe have tuned in to watch the likes of Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Winnie Harlow transform into ‘angels’ as they walk the runway decked in bejewelled lingerie and feathered wings.
The cancellation of the show isn’t entirely surprising, as Victoria’s Secret has repeatedly come under fire for its lack of diversity on the runway.
In November 2018, former chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, was forced to apologise after claiming the public has no interest in seeing plus-size or transgender models on the catwalk.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No,” he said in the controversial Vogue interview. “No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
But the lingerie brand is working hard to reinvent itself post-scandal, as Wexner also hinted that Victoria’s Secret is set to “push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age”.
The brand also recently hired it’s first transgender model. Valentina Sampaio will star in a campaign for the label’s diffusion line Pink.
The 22-year-old took to Instagram to share the news that she was the brand’s latest recruit. Uploading a photograph of her sitting in a dressing gown, she captioned the shot: “Backstage click @vspink”. She followed with another post of her urging her followers to “never stop dreaming”.
Fans were quick to congratulate the model and actress including a number of a-listers. Victoria’s Secret angel and fellow Brazilian, Lais Ribeiro, took to Twitter and said: “First transgender to shoot with VS! This makes me so happy!”. While Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox wrote under Sampaio’s photograph: “Wow finally”.
Karlie Kloss, who walked in the show several times, recently explained why she chose to stop working with the underwear giant, saying that she didn’t agree with the message it was sending to young women.
“The reason I decided to stop working with Victoria’s Secret was I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful,” Kloss told British Vogue. “I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world.”
The annual VS show typically took place in November every year, to be broadcast on television a month later. It was once the most-watched fashion event of the year with around $12 million (about £9.2 million) spent on putting the spectacle together – a huge figure considering most catwalk shows cost an estimated $1million (about £700,000).