Victoria's Secret Fashion Show faces bad publicity, low ratings


Temperatures were high, performances were in full swing and the Empire State Building was ignited pink for the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that aired on Dec. 2 on ABC.

The highly anticipated fashion and beauty event was originally filmed on Nov. 8, and took place in New York City at Pier 94.

The night of glamour began with model Taylor Hill opening the runway. The first segment of the show was titled “Glam Royale,” as models adorned the runway in green and red-plaid lingerie accompanied by the show’s classic components: wings, stilettos and trains. Models Sara Sampaio, Josephine Skriver, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid walked the stage in this segment. Other segments included “Golden Angel,” “Flights of Fancy,” “PINK,” “Celestial Angel” and “Downtown Angel.”

Like every year, the show was comprised of an all-star lineup of singers, with each segment including various performances from Bebe Rexha, Halsey, Shawn Mendes, Kelsea Ballerini, Rita Ora and The Struts. This year’s Dream Angels Fantasy Bra — valued at $1 million — was worn by Swedish model and Victoria’s Secret Angel Elsa Hosk.

The Fantasy Bra and an accompanying body chain were made with over 2,100 Swarovski diamonds over more than 930 hours, according to a Victoria’s Secret press release.

After a collaboration with fashion house Balmain last year, the 2018 Victoria’s Secrets Fashion Show collaborated with Greek designer Mary Katrantzou — known for her work in London Fashion Week — for the segment “Floral Fantasy.” Holding true to the segment name, the models wore outfits consisting of bold patterns and colors.

The 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show had its lowest viewership since becoming a holiday TV event in 2001, according to The Associated Press, but there were certainly many memorable moments in the show. Often attacked for its lack of diversity, Victoria’s Secret clearly took some measures to be more inclusive, as models from all across the world walked the runway.

Model Kelsey Merritt made history as the first Filipino to grace the Victoria’s Secret runway. Canadian model Winnie Harlow, known for her skin condition of vitiligo, made her debut on the runway as well. Other first-time models included Yasmin Wijnaldum, Duckie Thot and Cheyenne Maya-Carty — all young models of color.

Taking these models into account, one can hardly say that this year’s show lacked diversity and inclusivity.

The highlight of the show was certainly the special segment dedicated to Victoria’s Secret’s long-time model Adriana Lima. Fellow models and fans were in tears as Lima, 37, was honored as the “greatest angel of all time” and walked the runway for the last time, bidding her goodbye to the show. The segment also took the viewers backstage and showed a video of Lima’s journey as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and her various runway looks from over the years. Lima herself was brought to tears by a standing ovation, celebrating almost 20 years of walking the Victoria’s Secret show.

“Every minute that I have worked with Victoria’s Secret is the greatest time of my life and it’s going to stay with me forever,” she said. “They made my dream become a reality.”

The “Finale,” the last segment of the show, was led by Hill, Behati Prinsloo, Lima, Hosk, Jasmine Tookes and Candice Swanepoel, where all 49 models were brought together on the runway. The Struts concluded the show with the song “In Love with a Camera.”

Every year, as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is aired, several questions are raised: Is the show exemplifying a false body image? Are the models unhealthy and unrealistic role models for the young women of the world?

While this year’s show was certainly diverse, it still did not include any transgender or plus-size models. When Edward Razek, the chief marketing officer of Limited Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, was interviewed by Vogue to answer these questions. When asked why the show didn’t include trans or plus-sized models, he said, “No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”

Halsey, the 24-year-old singer who performed at the show, took to her Instagram during the airing of the show and responded to Razek’s comments. Her post talked about the lack of inclusivity at the show and she declared that she stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

The lack of inclusion may have been responsible for low ratings. However, some things can’t be denied of the show — all the models worked extremely hard for the show and brought their best for the most extravagant beauty and fashion event of the year.