Victoria’s Secret has been trying to reconnect with customers who’ve increasingly turned to rivals that embrace female empowerment and diverse body types.(Instagram/ Victoria’s Secret)
Victoria’s Secret has been trying to reconnect with customers who’ve increasingly turned to rivals that embrace female empowerment and diverse body types.(Instagram/ Victoria’s Secret)

In a bid to achieve inclusivity, male management at Victoria’s Secret trying to rebrand as ‘led by her, for her’

Victoria’s Secret has been trying to reconnect with customers who’ve increasingly turned to rivals that embrace female empowerment and diverse body types.
By Jordyn Holman, Jonathan Roeder, Anne Riley Moffat | Bloomberg
UPDATED ON SEP 11, 2019 02:11 PM IST

Victoria’s Secret, founded with the idea men should feel more comfortable shopping for the women in their lives, is trying to reframe itself as a brand that’s actually made with female customers in mind. But that’s a tough message to deliver when most of your management is male.

“There’s a big belief in the company that we need to evolve,” Victoria’s Secret Lingerie Chief Executive Officer John Mehas said during a question and answer period at the annual investor day in Columbus, Ohio. “We need to be led by her, for her.”

Parent L Brands Inc. laid out a multipart -- if still vague -- plan on Tuesday for turning around Victoria’s Secret: an updated brand strategy that’s more inclusive, a refreshed in-store experience and a still-in-development marketing overhaul that won’t alienate core shoppers.

That message, though, was almost entirely delivered by men -- an optic that wasn’t lost on shareholders who raised the issue with Bloomberg News during a break. Of the 11 speakers during the L Brands event, excluding an introduction from Amie Preston from investor relations, just three were women. And only one gave a presentation: Amy Hauk, CEO of Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line.

Investor Reactions

One investor, who asked not to be named, said on the sidelines of the event that he and his peers were in Ohio trying to determine if the current leadership can pull off the brand revamp, especially since the management team is predominantly male. He called the shortage of women presenting striking.

Another meeting attendee asked during a Q&A session why the company chose Mehas, rather than a woman, to lead the lingerie business. L Brands founder Les Wexner noted that all the leaders of the brand have been women previously. “John is the first guy, so we don’t want to be discriminating,” he said to laughter from the audience. Mehas then gave a second response to the question, before Hauk jumped in: “As a woman, I’d like to comment,” she said to more audience chuckles, before talking about the evolving Pink customer.

Victoria’s Secret has been trying to reconnect with customers who’ve increasingly turned to rivals that embrace female empowerment and diverse body types, like Aerie and ThirdLove, rather than Victoria’s Secret’s traditionally sexy and skinny aesthetic. That has hit comparable sales, a key retail metric, which have dropped for five straight quarters at the underwear chain.

To be sure, it has made some steps toward an overhaul: The company said in May it would pull its fashion show from network television after 23 years and Ed Razek, who crafted the chain’s annual event with the defining image of lingerie-clad models with angel wings, left over the summer. Earlier this year, activist investor Barington Capital Group LP pushed for changes and successfully nominated two new women to the board, bringing the share of female directors to more than 40%.

‘Sick’ Epstein

Still, the company has further to go in shaking its overtly sexualized legacy. The chain’s founder, Roy Raymond, originally came up with the idea of a women’s lingerie store aimed at men after he went to a department store to buy his wife some lingerie in the 1970s. He didn’t love the experience and felt there should be a place where men would be comfortable shopping for women’s underwear. It didn’t help the brand earlier this year when Wexner’s ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein came under scrutiny.

Wexner employed Epstein as a personal money manager for years, building a relationship close enough for Epstein to buy his Manhattan mansion before severing ties more than a decade ago.

“Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved, is something that I’m embarrassed I was even close to. But that is in the past,” Wexner, 82, said in his opening remarks.

For now, investors seem willing to wait a little longer to see if Victoria’s Secret can reverse a sales slump and revamp its outdated image. The lingerie brand is determined to wean itself off discounts and is in the early stage of a marketing overhaul to address customers’ evolving view of what’s sexy, according to presentations by the company’s executives.

Learning From Missteps

L Brands shares rose on Tuesday, a sign that investors are giving the company the benefit of the doubt. The company was short on specifics, however, and the fact that its marketing is only in the early stages of being overhauled -- despite years of losing market share -- may eventually be a cause for concern.

Hauk acknowledged the company was “too slow to change” along with its customer base, adding that Pink has since had success slimming down inventory choices, refocusing on college students, leaning into sportswear and working to include more diverse models in its marketing. She sees the division’s athletic wear generating $1 billion in sales by 2022.

“We are committed to learning from some of the missteps,” she said.

At sister brand Victoria’s Secret, the turnaround plan isn’t quite so defined. “Amy and the team are a little further ahead than we are,” Mehas said of the marketing overhaul.

“There’s an opportunity to take a step back and evolve the brand,” he added during the final Q&A session. The Victoria’s Secret customer “has been very vocal on what she’d like to see from us: whether it’s inclusivity, whether it’s #metoo, whether it’s different profile of models, whether it’s rethinking the show, and we’re essentially in agreement. The point is it’s a fine line in terms of rethinking the next evolution of the brand and we’re being thoughtful about what that looks like.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Mouni Roy gives loungewear a sexy twist in tie and dye tee-joggers with jacket(Instagram/amaeeraandvannia)
Mouni Roy gives loungewear a sexy twist in tie and dye tee-joggers with jacket(Instagram/amaeeraandvannia)

Mouni Roy gives loungewear a sexy twist in tie and dye tee-joggers with jacket

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 04:04 PM IST
  • Mouni Roy is the new millennial trendsetter and these pictures of her in cool and fast fashion of tie and dye loungewear are proof
Close
Malaika Arora enjoys a lazy Sunday at home(Instagram/malaikaaroraofficial)
Malaika Arora enjoys a lazy Sunday at home(Instagram/malaikaaroraofficial)

Malaika Arora enjoys a relaxed Sunday at home in comfy clothes

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 03:41 PM IST
  • Malaika Arora recently took to Instagram to wish her fans a happy Sunday as the actor enjoyed a lazy day at home wearing a sports bra and sweat pants.
Close
Sonakshi Sinha slays ethnic fashion in pastel-base floral suit with bell-sleeves(Instagram/aslisona)
Sonakshi Sinha slays ethnic fashion in pastel-base floral suit with bell-sleeves(Instagram/aslisona)

Sonakshi Sinha slays ethnic fashion in pastel-base floral suit with bell-sleeves

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 01:16 PM IST
  • Sonkashi Sinha lays perfect style tips to break all the fashion records on a work-day in a dainty pink suit set with bell-sleeves and gorgeous pastel colour-base that has left us hooked with its must-have appeal for our summer closet
Close
Radhika Madan aces red hot millennial vibe in sultry cherry-print crop top-jeans(Instagram/radhikamadan/pinkporcupines)
Radhika Madan aces red hot millennial vibe in sultry cherry-print crop top-jeans(Instagram/radhikamadan/pinkporcupines)

Radhika Madan aces red hot millennial vibe in sultry cherry-print crop top-jeans

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 11:30 AM IST
  • Want to raise the hotness quotient while looking effortlessly trendy? Search no further and take fashion cues from Radhika Madan whose fun and fearless style for Netflix series ‘Spotlight’ looks fresh as spring in an off-shoulder scarlet crop top, jeans and red heels
Close
Parineeti Chopra in all-black outfit(Instagram/parineetichopra )
Parineeti Chopra in all-black outfit(Instagram/parineetichopra )

Parineeti Chopra flaunts toned midriff in crop sweater and skirt worth 5k

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 11:19 AM IST
  • For a promotional event of her recently released film, The Girl On The Train, Parineeti Chopra showed how to slay in an all-black attire and add extra oomph to it.
Close
A creation part of the Borsalino women's Fall Winter 2021-22 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Wednesday,(AP)
A creation part of the Borsalino women's Fall Winter 2021-22 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Wednesday,(AP)

Borsalino looks ahead with cool bucket hats, baseball caps

AP, Milan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 09:46 AM IST
The fedora Humphrey Bogart wore in “Casablanca” may have secured Borsalino’s place in fashion and cinematic history, but it will be something like the cow-print bucket hat that will help ensure its future.
Close
Alia Bhatt and Mrunal Thakur in same dress(Instagram)
Alia Bhatt and Mrunal Thakur in same dress(Instagram)

Alia Bhatt or Mrunal Thakur: Who wore the 5k midi summer dress better?

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 08:25 AM IST
  • Alia Bhatt and Mrunal Thakur were recently snapped wearing the same dress. The green coloured midi dress is a great pick for summer season. Who do you think wore it better?
Close
Madhuri Dixit Nene(Instagram)
Madhuri Dixit Nene(Instagram)

Madhuri Dixit is a vision in royal blue Arpita Mehta saree priced at 98,000

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Alfea Jamal, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:38 PM IST
Madhuri Dixit's stunning blue saree with the embroidered blouse is the Royal Blue tiered ruffle sari set with beige gold linear embroidery by ace couturier Arpita Mehta priced at 98,000 on the designer's website.
Close
Kareena Kapoor in <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>10k kurta set(Instagram/kareenakapoorkhan)
Kareena Kapoor in 10k kurta set(Instagram/kareenakapoorkhan)

Kareena Kapoor is dreamy in 10k maternity kurta set, to-be-mommies take note

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:28 PM IST
  • Kareena Kapoor has changed the face of maternity fashion. From figure-flaunting dresses to dreamy kurtas and kaftans, the actor was seen wearing everything while expecting her second son. One of her outfits that created a lot of buzz was a sea green kurta set that the actor wore during a shoot.
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

London’s West End turns dead end as shoppers leave Oxford Street

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:55 PM IST
In total, at least a fifth of the stores on Oxford Street are now shut and will not reopen after the Covid lockdown ends, according to the New West End Company, a lobby group for the district.
Close
Priyanka Chopra looks stunning while trying new spectacles (Twitter/priyankachopra)
Priyanka Chopra looks stunning while trying new spectacles (Twitter/priyankachopra)

Priyanka Chopra asks fans about new specks while wearing shirt worth 21k

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:51 PM IST
  • Priyanka Chopra recently took to Twitter and showed fans her new silver-framed spectacles. However, it was her stunning green well-fitted shirt that garnered all the attention.
Close
Lifestyle blogger and influencer Sone Kanwar (Phoot: Instagram/sonekanwar)
Lifestyle blogger and influencer Sone Kanwar (Phoot: Instagram/sonekanwar)

The power of responsible influencing

By Sanchita Kalra
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:42 PM IST
For lifestyle blogger and influencer Sone Kanwar content is king, and it’s of utmost importance to be real and impactful and not just impressive
Close
Janhvi Kapoor(Instagram)
Janhvi Kapoor(Instagram)

Roohi promotions: Janhvi Kapoor goes backless and bold in Mumbai summers

By Alfea Jamal, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:12 PM IST
For the promotions of her upcoming movie Roohi, Janhvi Kapoor has been seen sporting some bright, neon colours. Most recently the Dhadak actor went for a backless metallic silver top and hot pink flared pants. See pics
Close
The Celestial Sunset - Spring 2021 couture (Photo: Instagram/GauravGuptaOfficial)
The Celestial Sunset - Spring 2021 couture (Photo: Instagram/GauravGuptaOfficial)

Conjuring celestial fantasy 

By Manish Mishra
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:53 PM IST
We’ve reached a point in fashion where designers are recontextualising their offerings to suit the post-pandemic paradox - when you are so used to the comfort of your trusty tracksuit, yet you want to shimmy in a sequinned dress
Close
Shanaya Kapoor(Instagram)
Shanaya Kapoor(Instagram)

Shanaya Kapoor says all you need is love, but a great pair of jeans never hurts

By Alfea Jamal, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:49 PM IST
Shanaya has recently been posting many images of herself from different fashion shoots and the latest one has the star kid posing sultrily in a white sleeveless crop top and baggy, boyfriend denim jeans, which are left open, as Shanaya poses showing off her tiny, toned midriff.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP