Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show, the televised event where world-famous supermodels show off angel wings and colorful, bejeweled bras on the runway, will not be held this year.
L Brands, the parent company of the the lingerie purveyor, announced in an earnings call Thursday that it has cancelled the 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, following a decline in viewership. The show is usually held around the holiday shopping season, in November or December.
“We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret,” L Brands chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer said during the call.
When asked if the show was planned for this year, he added: “We’ll be communicating to customers but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show.”
The announcement comes amid a difficult time for Victoria’s Secret, which has seen a fall in sales and a rise in criticism for its continued focus on what some say are outdated fashion and beauty ideals. Sales declined 7% in the latest quarter, compared to a 2% fall during the same time period last year. And as other lingerie brands, like Aerie or Rhianna’s Savage X Fenty, make a point to be inclusive of all body types in their marketing, the spotlight has turned to how Victoria’s Secret advocates for a look that only supermodels can obtain—thin figures, rock-hard abs and breasts that fit into the brand’s famous push-up bras.
The model Robyn Lawley, who last year called for a boycott of the fashion show until the brand “commits to representing ALL women on stage,” posted the news on Instagram in celebration.View this post on Instagram
Guess they didn’t use much diversity on their runway …thanks to everyone who signed the petition last year and thanks to @modelallianceny for your stance on model rights. @victoriassecret can change with the times and has begun using more diversity, thank you to @thirdlove and their donations to @isupportthegirls and thank you to YOU for demanding change or boycotting! 🤟 #weareallangels
“Guess they didn’t use much diversity on the runway,” she wrote.
Victoria’s Secret has also faced backlash for upholding old-fashioned gender norms. Last year, Ed Razek, the then-chief marketing officer for L Brands, had to apologize after saying transgender models should not be cast in the fashion show because “the show is a fantasy.” Victoria’s Secret has since hired the company’s first transgender model.
The lingerie brand is faltering as fewer and fewer people watch the televised fashion show during the holiday season each year. The New York Times reports that viewership numbers have starkly declined over the last five years — 9.7 million people watched the show in 2013 and only 3.3 million tuned in last year.
Representatives for L Brands and Victoria’s Secret did not immediately return requests for comment.