Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret has signed a new roster led by American soccer star Megan Rapinoe to replace the brand’s hypersexualized models, who are under scrutiny for their embodiment of male fantasy over an accurate representation of what women seek in undergarments. The US store, which brought sexy lingerie to the masses in the 1970s and then made billions, has been overshadowed in recent years by brands that have openly embrace both bodily and ethnic diversity.
Criticized for its objectification of women, Victoria’s Secret in 2019 abandoned its famed fashion show, a globally televised event that saw women parade down the catwalk in barely-there lingerie replete with gems, feathers and lace. “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said chief executive Martin Waters in an interview with the New York Times. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
One of the first companies to step into the void of Victoria’s Secret’s dimming star was Savage X Fenty, a lingerie company launched by singer Rihanna in 2018 which is now valued at $1 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes magazine.