Victoria's Secret migrated to London a good month ago although only today did we manage to actually see what all the fuss is about. Let us begin by saying that we were never enamoured with the brand to begin with. It remained Stateside thus our days were left free from the critique of neon lace and padding.
First, credit where credit is due: the store looks fantastic. Low lighting (very Abercrombie & Fitch - that's both good and bad) which creates the boudoir feel a lingerie store should really have and the staircase leading to the second floor is mirrored giving a crystal effect...and that's where it stops. Pink threw up in there. In the beauty hall the colour pink went on an all night bender (on an empty stomach) and proceeded vomiting on every available surface. Why in this day and age is 'girly' still associated with pink? [Living Dolls by Natasha Walter has an interesting section on this particular stereotype] Even a fragrance called ‘something Noir’ (so… black, yeah?) is in a pink bottle. Cool. I see your logic.
Victoria's Secret inspires many different responses ranging from fandom to pure feminist hate. We're definitely leaning towards the hate but not because we can't afford the lingerie. Which we kind of can't but that's a different story. When I first walked in I went straight to feeling up the bras to see just how padded they were. VS is known for the ridiculous amount of extra 'help' they include in their bras taking their angels from frame suiting A/B cups to hyper bouncy D's.
More neon lace, many sparkles. It was difficult to spend time in there because some of the lingerie seemed to be aimed at young teenagers not women but the padding is definitely to accentuate the secondary sexual characteristics or BOOBS that women have. Some of the lingerie is nice, let that be mentioned. Pretty pastel lace or sexy black numbers which do not bear crystals or super padding do exist, though the few elegant pieces are drowned out by the loud screaming of hot pink and shimmering thongs. So you kind of give up.
VS is caught in a trap of its own making whereby they continue to push the same airbrushed ideal of a woman whilst preaching diversity and body acceptance. Just look at the I Love My Body campaign. When you’re paid to look that way of course you’re going to love your body. What about the people that are actually shopping at VS? How can an average woman or young girl watching the advert relate when the message behind it seems to be 'you can only love your body if it's tiny and has big breasts'. Therein lies the dichotomy.
The aspirational aspect presented by the brand is toxic because more often than not it inspires self-loathing or triggers insecurities. I have felt this myself, watching the VS show with sheer fascination about the size of the wings and the toned waists sashaying down the runway. Adriana Lima caused a furore when she said that the last few days before the show she has no solid food to help define the muscles, she later said it was a misunderstanding and appeared with coffee and cake backstage. However the wheels were set in motion. No solid food for days - that's what it takes to have and love a body like that.
Further still is the issue of photoshopping because even these so called 'perfect women' are retouched to define exactly what perfection means to Victoria's Secret narrowing that ideal into unreachable territory.
Victoria's Secret is not healthy for women or men for that matter. Unfortunately a few bloggers will not be changing the mind of a global corporation any time soon.
Basically VS: you're tacky and I hate you. Sidenote: Mean Girls time.