As I was walking down New Bond-street the other day in London, I could hardly believe the huge line outside of America’s N.1 lingerie shop: Victoria’s Secret. With its dim lighting and outrageously loud music I couldn’t help but wonder why this brand was so famous, but who am I kidding, why should I be surprised when the push-up bras can transform small A cups into double Ds.
So although this billion dollar company has changed the world’s lingerie industry, I had to find out how this world-known concept came about, and was pleasantly surprised to find out it all started with a confused man wanting to please his wife.
1) The Making Of VS
Founder Roy Raymond, an American businessman, felt too awkward walking into an ordinary lingerie shop. He felt judged by the saleswomen and so out of his comfort zone. He quotes: “I always had the feeling the department-store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder.” Which quickly inspired him to make a male-friendly lingerie shop, where boyfriends and husbands could comfortably treat their women to sexy lingerie. This concept was a winner right away and according to Elite Daily, in its first year in 1977, Victoria’s Secret already made $500,000.
2) The Name
Did Raymond name his company after his wife or daughter? Well, the answer is no! Funnily enough, it has nothing to do with any women at all but relates to the Victorian Era. Raymond believed the British interiors were beautiful with dark woods and hidden silk drapery. The name Victoria, therefore, defines a hidden gem inspired by older interior design, who would have thought!
3) Raymond’s Goodbye
Roy sold VS in 1982 to Leslie “Les” Wexner for 1 billion dollars. Leslie Wexner is a self-made billionaire who revolutionized the retail industry with his brand The Limited, which just like its name might give away, sold limited amounts of merchandise that had a quick turnaround but high margins. Over the years, Leslie created his own empire under his company now called L brands which includes: VS, Pink, The White Barn Candle Company, La Senza and Henri Bendel. He bought VS for $1 billion dollars and is today making over $12 billion a year, talk about a good investment. Leslie is today the richest man in Ohio.
4) The tragic death of the owner
One of the most shocking facts of the history of VS is the sudden death of its founder, Roy. Shortly after selling VS to Leslie, Roy began his own children’s store, which went bankrupted a few years after its start. Not long after the opening of his new store, things didn’t go too well for him as he got divorced, and soon after jumped over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
5) The Fashion Show
The first fashion show took place in 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in New York. What is now known as the “super bowl” of modeling, was then a group of unorganized models walking down the runway in underwear, bags, and cardigans. Today, the annual show attracts over 9.1 million viewers to tune in to watch the live show on TV which includes the world’s most famous models and performances by top chart singers such as The Weekend, Lady Gaga and Harry Styles.
6) Becoming An Angel
Over the years, VS has helped young models becoming super-models thanks to its known name and worldwide fashion show appearance. Fun fact: there are VS Angels from all over the world… except for Antartica! But how do you actually become an Angel? Walking down the catwalk doesn’t exactly mean you’re an official Angel, it all depends on the contract you’re given, but in order to be picked out of the crowd, you’ve got to have an impressive resume and a great social media reach! Although you have to have an impressive career behind you, once you become an Angel, there’s no looking back! In fact, in 2016, 9 of the 14 official Angels were listed in Forbe’s list of the top 20 world’s highest paid models.
7) The Wings
The VS angel wings can weigh up to 20 kilos… EACH! Talk about having a strong back. Some of the wings have over 2,000 diamonds and rubies and cost about $15 million dollars each. How would you feel walking down the catwalk in your underwear and such bling wings?
Funny story: the VS stores are a popular spot for shoplifters! One article said: “From 2007 to 2014, shoplifters carried away nearly $20,000 worth of merchandise from a Fairfield, Conn. store“. It’s not very surprising when looking at the amount of fabric for an underwear or soft lace bras, and have you noticed there’s no security tag on each item? This doesn’t seem to affect their yearly sales too much, however, but maybe they should upgrade their security a little.
9) The Price
What if we told you the bigger the cup, the more expensive it is! This was one of their latest scandals, as women with bigger chests realized they had to pay more for the exact same bra, in bigger sizes. Although we’re glad it’s not about photoshopped photos or negative ideas of body image, double D bras should not be $4 more than any other sizes! Larger sizes do require more material but VS seems to be one of the only companies in the US that charge for size differences. Let’s do something about that.
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