Feather wings, A-list models and pop music performances: it can only be the return of the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The American lingerie and sleepwear giant brought the show back to New York’s Pier 94, after spending the past few years in London, Paris and Shanghai with the aim to make the brand a global name. From their first show in 1995, Victoria’s Secret have gone from strength to strength, bagging some of the best models in the industry to model for them. This year, however, there was a lot left to be desired.

“While the models may have made an impressive list of names, the same couldn’t be said for the performers”

The Victoria’s Secret catwalk welcomed both new and returning Angels to the show this year, all gracing the stage in the Victoria’s Secret runway range. New faces to the spectacle this year included Winnie Harlow and Australian-Sudanese model, Duckie Thot. Harlow has been making waves in the fashion world over the last four years, such as modelling for Vogue Italia and London Fashion Week. Thot already has impressive credentials to her name, such as being a model for Yeezy and modelling at Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma show in 2017.

“It is unclear if Razek was aware that similar speciality brands have catered to representing plus size models in lingerie on the runway, with major success”

While the models may have made an impressive list of names, the same couldn’t be said for the performers. This year the budget stretched as far as The Chainsmokers and Bebe Rexha, a far cry from Lady Gaga performing in ten-inch heels just two years ago. Swedish model Elsa Hosk was given the honour of modelling the Victoria’s Secret “Fantasy Bra”, a handmade piece created from Swarovski diamonds worth over $1 million. Executive producer for the show Ed Razek told the media that 2018’s show would be the “most ambitious yet”.

Following the diverse range of models at Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show back in September, all eyes were on the Victoria’s Secret show if they would follow in her footsteps. Despite selling underwear for bigger sizes, Victoria’s Secret did not include plus size models in their runway segments. Before the show got underway, Razek announced that there were no plans to feature plus size or transgender models anytime soon. Following up his statement, Razek added that Victoria’s Secret was a “speciality brand”. It is unclear if Razek was aware that similar speciality brands have catered to representing plus size models in lingerie on the runway, with major success. If Victoria’s Secret want to be “ambitious”, taking a leaf out of their peer’s book might be a good start.

In February 2019, there was more bad news for Victoria’s Secret. The company behind Victoria’s Secret, L Brands, announced that 53 Victoria’s Secret stores will close by the end of 2019. In recent years the lingerie chain had been closing at least 15 stores a year, as well as dealing with declining sales. While other lingerie brands have adapted to new consumer needs, Victoria’s Secret remained hesitant on changing the status quo. A few famous faces and a Fantasy Bra in small sizes are no longer enough to fit the bill.