Queen Victoria’s secret, what was it? Two American designers asked this, looking for an inspiration in fashion to make trendy even what… “you couldn’t see”, that is underwear . Victoria’s Secret is a successful bet , a search for classic perfectionism in the middle of the modern era. A choice of style that has shown how even with underwear you can mark an era.
The idea came to Roy Raymond, while looking for a sexy gift for his wife Gaye . He hadn’t been able to find lingerie that he suited to his idea of ”bed” elegance. Yet he has the style of some European underwear in mind and with that idea in mind he decides to… create his partner’s gift himself.
Victoria’s Secret is therefore born from a gesture of love and a lot of imagination.
Victoria’s Secret, Raymond’s bet
In 1970, the young Roy Raymond decides to create a line of underwear according to traditional canons but still terribly sexy, but above all open to the possibility of change and renewal. He seeks inspiration in antique prints, especially those from the time of Queen Victoria. What was the secret – the “hidden” treasure – under the guise of ladies? After eight years of research, some financing and private investments, the first Victoria’s Secret store is born in San Francisco .
We are in 1977 when the Victoria’s Secret company was founded.
The first year the income is $ 500,000, which encourages Raymond and his wife to expand. Four other stores open and, absolute pioneers in 1982, also a mail order shop.
In 1982, in full market success, Roy Raymond sells his company (capable of generating 6 million dollars in income) to Leslie Wexner and this is how Victoria ‘s Secret renews itself and focuses only on women’s lingerie. The choice is a winning one and the company takes off to open first 346 and then a thousand stores around the world.
The turning point of the nineties
In 1990 , modernity beckons and profits allow you to dream even bigger. Victoria’s Secret decides to try other ways. Sportswear, the perfumery line and the cosmetics line begins.
The 21st century sees the spread of the brand also outside the United States. Although more than 900 stores are in the US, the number of franchises in the world is rapidly increasing.
In 2012 Victoria’s Secret had a turnover of 4 and a half billion dollars , three years later the company’s turnover exceeded 7 billion. Confident in the future, the company faces the 2000s with too much energy and in 2018 the problems that will lead to the crisis of 2020 begin. Many shops are closed and some foreign branches go bankrupt.
After the turn of the nineties, today Victoria’s Secret produces: lingerie, clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, footwear, sportswear, swimwear and leather accessories!
Victoria’s Secret economic crisis and ownership changes
The Victoria’s Secret economic crisis of 2020, also due to the effects of covid-19, resulted in the sale of the company on February 20, 2020, when control of the brand was sold to a private equity fund, Sycamore Partners, for 525 million. dollars with the company valued at 1.1 billion, with the owner of Victoria’s Secret, L Brands, who owns all the stores, which would have kept a 45% minority interest and Lex Wexner sacked as president and CEO of the parent company .
Not even three months later, however, we are in early May 2020, Sycamore Partner cancels its investment with the approval of L Brands to avoid legal battles. At the same time, however, the release of Lex Wexner in mid-May is confirmed.
In June 2020, the British branch of Victoria’s Secret ends up in bankruptcy , and with it the possibilities, at least for the moment, of a prompt economic recovery. In fact, the number of jobs have been reduced and several shops closed.
With the crisis, the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show also ends , with its angels parading in lingerie to the delight of the female audience, interested in the latest collections, but also the male audience given the protagonists of the fashion shows (the top models Irina Shaikh, Alessandra Ambrosio , Adriana Lima and so on).
Let’s talk about the Victoria’s Secret angels in the following lines: keep reading our interesting post dedicated to the iconic American women’s lingerie brand!
Victoria’s Secret Angels
Victoria’s Secret is the first fashion house to exploit online methods to spread its fashion. In 1999 she organizes a fashion festival in her own name, posting the shows online and allowing the world to admire her models and products effortlessly.
The models, the angels of Victoria’s Secret, are the strength of the company. The most beautiful, the most talented, are enlisted to bring the beauty of the brand on them. Whoever has the honor of parading for Victoria’s Secret becomes “Victoria’s angel”. No Italian model has yet entered the “team”, yet in Italy the brand is spreading rapidly. In 2017 there were 13 shops, between Milan, Naples, Florence, Rome, Venice, Bologna, Pisa and several small provincial towns.
The best known Victoria’s Secret angels are:
- Helena Christensen (1997-1998)
- Maria Inés Rivero (1998-1999)
- Stephanie Seymour (1997-2000)
- Karen Mulder (1997-2000)
- Laetitia Casta (1998-2000)
- Daniela Pestova (1997-2001)
- Tyra Banks (1997-2005)
- Gisele Bundchen (2000-2006)
- Izabel Goulart (2005-2008)
- Selita Ebanks (2005-2009)
- Karolina Kurkova (2005-2008)
- Heidi Klum (1999-2009)
- Marisa Miller (2007-2009)
- Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (2010-2011)
- Chanel Iman (2010-2012)
- Miranda Kerr (2007-2013)
- Erin Heatherton (2010-2013)
- Lindsay Ellingson (2011-2014)
- Doutzen Kroes (2008-2014)
- Karlie Kloss (2013-2015)
- Monika Jagaciak (2015-2016)
- Kate Grigorieva (2015-2016)
- Alessandra Ambrosio (2004-2017)
- Lily Aldridge (2010-2018)
- Adriana Lima (2000-2018)
- Behati Prinsloo (2009-2019)
- Candice Swanepoel (2010-present)
- Taylor Marie Hill (2015-present)
- Elsa Hosk (2015-present)
- Stella Maxwell (2015 – present)
- Lais Ribeiro (2015 – present)
- Sara Sampaio (2015-present)
- Martha Hunt (2015 – present)
- Romee Strijd (2015-present)
- Jasmine Tookes (2015-present)
- Josephine Skriver (2016-present)
- Barbara Palvin (2019 present)
- Alexina Graham (2019-present)
- Leomie Anderson (2019-present)
- Grace Elizabeth (2019-present)
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and, as anticipated, the parade of the latest collections of the brand, with the models, called in jargon “angels”, who show their graces live worldwide, together with the latest creations of the brand. They are recognizable because they generally wear angel wings.
The first show was held in 1995 at the Hotel Plaza in New York and numerous models paraded on the catwalk in their nightgowns. Over the years the show has repeated itself and, in 1999, it is the first company to produce its show live on the web, which totals the beauty of 1.5 million spectators and is even advertised during the Super Bowl.
Generally the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show takes place at the New York Armony on Lexington Avenue and shows mostly underwear and bras, accompanied by millionaire music and sets: the budget for a fashion show reaches around 12 million dollars!
The show attracts hundreds of celebrities and entertainers who attend the big event every year. The huge angel wings worn by the models as well as butterfly, peacock or devil wings are a trademark of Victoria’s Secret.
In 2004 instead of the traditional fashion show, some of the most famous top models such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio took part in the Angels Across America Tour, visiting the American cities of New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
In recent years, the organization of the show has also been decided in Europe, making its debut in Paris and showing its collections to the public, with the participation of Lady Gaga as a performer.
In September 2017, the American lingerie house announces its collaboration with the “Balmain” fashion house.
In 2019 the fashion house decides to cancel the show due to the economic problems of the brand. To date, the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is no longer held, although we already miss it, just as we miss its angels!