“What does the new era of empowerment look like at Victoria’s Secret?” asked a series of current adverts for the former lingerie giant. The answer? Well, it’s certainly not the annual televised fashion show which in recent years has gone from being the must-see blockbuster event of the year, full of fashion’s most famous faces cast as its iconic Angels, to being cancelled. Over and out. Parent company L Brands last week announced the show would not take place this year. And that any further activity would not be on as grand a scale.
The end of an era, maybe, the move comes amid a dramatic drop in viewers. The Guardian reported that last year the show was watched by just 3.3 million Americans compared to 12 million back in 2001. The paper reiterated the overall shift in a new fashion landscape, where small bejewelled bras and angel wings simply aren’t enough to dazzle a new generation of shoppers in a digital era.
Adding to that, the brand found itself in hot water after its chief marketing officer Ed Razek made controversial comments regarding not using transgender or plus-size models. L Brand’s chief executive Leslie Wexner also came under scrutiny for his alleged links to Jeffrey Epstein.
But while Victoria’s Secret struggles to reposition itself, other lingerie brands who possess a blend of glamour and sexiness continue to thrive.
London-based brand Myla originally launched in the decade of the push-up bra, the 1990s, and struggled in later years to retain its market share — but just two years ago it relaunched with the former team of Agent Provocateur at its helm – ceo Garry Hogarth, coo Leila Habibi and senior designer Jess Thompson.
“We had a new vision and believed there was a gap in the market and that customers were looking for something new that wasn’t purely functional, sporty or fancy,” explained Habibi. So, you’ll find a mix of soft, beautiful pieces alongside those with a little more bang. The aim on both occasions is to empower – but not be afraid of lace, underwire and the like, in the process. “We want women to leave our store feeling good about themselves in great-fitting lingerie, whatever the occasion,” said Habibi of a strategy that seems to be working.
Since its launch, Myla saw a 30 percent rise in sales and joined up with Selfridges in the UK for an exclusive retail launch and Bergdorf Goodman in the US, NET-A-PORTER online. The brand also has its own bricks-and-mortar store in Mayfair – just over the road, incidentally, from Victoria’s Secret.
“Our message has been resonating so well with a broad customer age base looking for simplified, uncomplicated products in beautiful lace, embroideries and soft silks which can take them from day to evening,” said Habibi.