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Katya Anleu
Ashley Humphries
April 15, 2015
Re-Branding of Victoria’s Secret
Unknown fashion can become iconic overnight, yet a world known brand can take
over three years to become the ideal brand they strive to be. The 18th annual Victoria’s
Secret Fashion Show has come a long way from its first one in 1995. The first show to
ever be broadcasted was in 2001, which took a poll on turning the lingerie brand into an
empire of underwear. The elaborated lingerie costumes have become remarkable as top
models strut down the iconic sparkling runway, along with top music entertainers from
that year. Each year, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show makes a unique remark with
different themes and embellished new looks. Every single show is tied together through
the use of the iconic Angel Wings. Each show starts out with a little preview of what the
next 45-60 minutes will consist of. In the very first minute of every show, we are exposed
to a montage of anticipated models and producers minutes before the show, giving us an
insight on what seems to be Victoria’s secret. I have found that the first minute of the past
three Victoria’s Secret Fashion shows have set the road for the couture direction that the
company wants to take. The clear changes from 2012 to 2014 in organization, themes and
atmosphere have boosted the chances of a Victoria’s Secret store opening on ChampsÉlysées.
Organization is the key to any successful fashion show… except for the Victoria’s
Secret Fashion Shows. The 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show could have been a total

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disaster and the company still would have been worth $5 billion (“Guthrie, Marisa”). The
drastic boost in organization in 2014 shows that the company wants to be known as more
than just an underwear department store with fun broadcasted fashion shows; they want
to be taken serious enough to possibly sell in Bergdorf Goodman, the high end fashion
department store in New York City. In the first minute of the 2012 Victoria's Secret
Fashion Show we are given backstage access as we hear the sounds of muffled voices
coming from the producers and the directors backstage talking to each other through
earpieces. The show captures the viewers’ attention by giving them the feeling that they
are important enough to have an earpiece. What is actually happening is our blood level
shooting up along with the crews because all we hear is the chaotic stress and the allover-the-place conversations between the producers. Of course an inside looks at what is
happening before the show makes us feel like we are in on the secrets, yet the
organization makes us look down at the brand. All we are thinking is “did they rehearse
anything?” Of course this show has the uniqueness of opening with an insider, which is
what separates Victoria’s Secret from other fashion shows, but it also separates it from
other fashions shows that are on another level. For example, when watching the seasonal
Chanel fashion show it is 15 minutes of pure runway looks. If we want to see some
behind the scenes, we have to look up the special features. It is in the nature of high-end
fashion brands to keep the access to a minimum: Gucci doesn’t want you to associate the
word unorganized with their show and Dior doesn’t even allow cameras backstage.
Knowing all of this is what makes the not-very- well-organized brand incomparable to
the kind of brands sold in Bergdorf Goodman. The fact that Victoria’s Secret attracts
people who feel connected to the lack of organization is why their daily costumer is your

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average every day woman. It is a human instinct to add one plus one, and in this case it is
adding Victoria’s Secret and no organization that equals to affordable.
2014 is the ultimate year when the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is clear on
what direction they want to take the brand in. It seems to be the year that the company
decides to start moving up the brands level and push it higher, near Marc Jacobs and
Caché. The opener in 2013 foreshadows this outtake in the brand. Like 2012, in 2013 we
are given an earpiece in which we hear these directors narrate the models, stating who is
where and what is going on. This year we hear positive words like beautiful and thank
you guys unlike last years chaotic sounds of people holding back stressful curses. The
positivity not only helps the atmosphere be dandier, it also helps the brand give off a
much more organized feeling. When we hear the director say beautiful, it automatically
makes us think that they must have practiced that so many times that it had to be
beautiful. Of course, high fashion shows don’t need someone telling us that something
was done beautifully because the beauty of high fashion lies within the ease that each
garment has when it takes its spot on the runway. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
had to start adjusting somewhere, and they did, in what we hear. The visuals are full of
models running around with a bunch of
people following them, pampering them
at each step. Although we hear the words
“let her go, let her go, let her go” being
slurred into the earpiece letting us in on
some of the chaos, we cannot expect the show to go from intimates to couture in one year
(“Razek, Ed”). I mean high-end fashion takes its time.

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The lack of narration in 2014 adds to the emotion of a high couture show by
paralleling this fashion show to a high fashion designer show. There is no need to count
down to the beginning of the show, because the opener speaks for itself. The emptiness of
a voice telling us who is where, and what is who gives the viewer the chance to really just
look. It allows the creativity in our minds to create the tone and create our own pedestal
for the show without having someone tell us exactly what to feel and exactly what to
notice. We can now take it all in and focus on what the show is truly about: the garments.
The uniqueness of Victoria’s Secret the
brand is noticeable within the fact that
there is an opening scene. There is no
high fashion brand that creates an
opening scene for their fashion show, yet
the elegance that the VS Company takes upon in 2014 is comparable to Gucci and Louis
Vuitton. The organization in focusing on the Angels and the bras and the underwear is
phenomenal. It keeps the exposure of the chaotic last minute work to a minimum; the
2014 fashion show provides a clear  view of the couture direction Victoria’s Secret wants
to achieve.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion
Shows know how to set the mood for their
chosen theme each year. In between the
acrobat circus acts in 2012 and the Queen’s
soldiers in 2013, the show goes above and
beyond giving the viewer the whole deal. The theme of each fashion show happens to

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evolve from a fun-childish theme in 2012 to a fashion theme in 2014. The maturity seen
throughout the beginning of the past 3 shows reflects the maturity of the re-branding of
Victoria’s Secret. Just like any other high fashion brand, the London theme in the 2014
fashion show becomes just a detail. In 2012, the magicians being along the models in the
runway is what kept lowering their ranking because as a viewer. Not only did the
continuous emphasis of the theme become repetitive, it became distracting. In the
preview we are shown about seven times, in a minute time frame, the overpowering
theme. You don’t even have to watch the show to know that it will most likely be like
watching a circus. The beauty of the garments is taken away by all of these distractions.
Finally in the 2014 show opener less is
more. The theme this year is clearly the fashion
that Victoria’s Secret offers. All of the scenes in
this preview take place outside at night. The
darkness from the lack of sun creates a romantic
and sexy vibe, which is how one should feel when wearing Victoria’s Secret. Models are
wearing bright lingerie that contrasts the darkness of the outside. It is like a spotlight is
shining on each lingerie piece, giving off the feeling that no matter how dark it is, when
wearing Victoria’s Secret you will always shine. This wants to make the viewer feel
intimidated unless you completely “know” fashion. Knowing fashion is many time
correlated to fashion weeks and high-end fashion brands, which is exactly, what
Victoria’s Secret want to be. The stillness of darkness adds to the presentation of the
wings creating a major importance to the wings. The flashing scenes of the worshipped
white wings throughout the opener bring back the memory of the 2013 silky-white

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couture like wings. The same high-couture sensation we were given last year with the
similar set of wings shows the constant couture theme the brand is creating, rebranding
into high-fashion. Here we can see how the brand is going from sexy lingerie to sexy
runway looks. The white silky sets of wings resemble the
elegance of a gala couture dress. A more embellished look that
seeks more detail and hand made elaboration. Haute Couture is
all about the detail and how each piece of clothing ties to one
another to create the story of the 10 different hands it went
through (“Koket”). In the history of the shows they have never covered up this much.
The rebranding that Victoria’s Secret is going through is a blast from the past.
This isn’t the first time the brand rebrands. In 1983 Victoria’s Secret changed from
everyday underwear and bras into extravagant, burlesque-like looks, turning the intimates
department store from being a $7 million brand to becoming a $6.12 billion company
(“Tomasino, Anna”). In 2012, collection creative director Sophia Neophitou let us in on a
secret: “As time goes on, we want the Victoria’s Secret collection to be more couture-y,
and this can only be achieved with time”. That statement seems to have become the goal
for the lingerie line as a whole.
The 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is the company’s limbo year in rebranding. It is opened with a scene of a marching band invading the sparkling runway,
instantly creating a strict and firm atmosphere. A second after, we are immediately taken
backstage where we see the Angels start to line up, and salute the camera as it focuses on
each one. In between the saluting and the down beats we are instantly reminded of an
army. I believe that this fashion show was easing in the idea of the rebranding because

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the army feel creates a prepared scenario. It is the company’s way of telling people that
this is the turning point of the brand, and they are ready to share a spotlight with the
worshipped brands such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
Within the first seconds of the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, we see
immediate and drastic changes in atmosphere. Throughout the years, these fashion shows
have been held in locations such as Miami, Los Angeles and Cannes. This year, we are in
London, the city of fashion. Not only is this huge because this is the first show to be held
in a fashion capital, but the fact that the production was taken overseas to a city where
Fashion Weeks are worshiped reflects a major change in the level of Victoria’s Secret
couture. This is a city where brands such as Chanel and Dior come to expose collections,
where designers dream of coming to study the art of fashion. London is a city where you
find emotion and creativity through the strut of models and the creation of a statement
without the use of words. Victoria’s Secret takes on London and begins a journey into
what seems to be their rebranding into high fashion couture.  
In the opening of the 2014 Victoria’s
Secret Fashion Show, we see less glitter and more
London than ever before. We hear an English
man narrating the incredible and luxurious night
scenes we see of London, “A mighty city has stood proud in England for over 2,000
years”. We are shown dramatic black and white scenes showing London’s history, and
the spoken description of how the great city has withstood plagues, war and fire, leads
you to believe that it will now withstand the power of Victoria’s Secret. Unlike any of the
past years, there is no interaction with backstage chaos, just the pure history of how the

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city celebrates traditions and royalty. The opening of the fashion show is a montage of
beautiful scenes of the city along with a glorified, angelic song that portrays the Angels
of the show. Looking over the Buckingham palace, the Queens soldiers are standing still
as the first model comes out dressed just like the soldier, and smiles at the camera as the
songs keeps playing.
This image of top model Behati coming out of the Buckingham palace, in her
sexy yet embellished lingerie is a power statement of royalty. Here we have a model
walking on royal grounds, grounds that have belonged to the royal family for centuries, in
nothing but a bra and underwear. The way that
Victoria’s Secret is  rebranding into a more high
fashion brand lies with the power of the super
models. The controversial scenes we have of
models walking the streets of London next to the royal marching band gives each model a
royal attitude that correlates with the feeling that creative directors want to transmit. This
in itself shows how the brand is looking to appeal to a different kind of customer.
The opening montage of each fashion shows’ is crucial when wanting to hook the
viewers attention for the next hour. First impressions are the most memorable, especially
when 9.3 million people are tuned in to watch (“Lutz, Ashley”). The chance that the
brand Victoria’s Secret is taken more serious than just sexy models in underwear is low,
yet it is a challenge that’s been accepted by the company. In between the visuals and the
overall atmosphere of the first seconds, Victoria’s Secret has announced that they are
officially moving up from an underwear department store.

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Guthrie, Marisa. "How 'Victoria's Secret Fashion Show' Turns $12 Million Into $5
Billion in One Hour." The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., 28 Nov. 2011. Web. 18
Apr. 2015.  
Koket. "Haute Couture: The Making of Victoria’s Secret Wings." Love Happens Blog
Haute Couture The Making of Victorias Secret Wings Comments. N.p., 15 Dec.
2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.  
Lutz, Ashley. "How Victoria's Secret Became The Most Popular Apparel Brand In The
World." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Apr.
Razek, Ed, dir. Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. 2012. Television.  
Tomasino, Anna. Discovering Popular Culture. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007.