Former VS Angel Karlie Kloss Speaks Out on Cancellation of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Updated Dec. 4, 2019, 12 p.m. ET:

Former Victoria’s Secret Angel Karlie Kloss is speaking out on the cancellation of Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show. Asked about the decision to cancel on the Today show, Kloss said this: “I think it’s a reflection of the world we live in today, and I think consumers demand that brands are inclusive and body positive and sustainable — I think brands have to evolve.”

Asked about her own former involvement with the brand, Kloss said she’s “grateful for the opportunities that it provided,” but she “was ready to move on.”

Updated Nov. 21, 2019, 5 p.m. ET:

The chief financial officer and executive vice president of L Brands Stuart B. Burgdoerfer has confirmed: The Victoria’s Secret 2019 fashion show is officially canceled. (L Brands is the parent company of Victoria’s Secret.)

“We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret,” Burgdoerfer said on a conference call Nov. 21.

“[The show] was a very important part of the brand-building of this business and was an important aspect of the brand and a remarkable marketing achievement…And with that said, we’re figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers.”

Victoria’s Secret has come under fire in recent years for promoting unhealthy body standards, as well as regularly excluding trans and plus-size models from their shows. Sources tell us that the brand is not commenting at this time.

For more than two decades, the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has taken place just ahead of the winter holiday season. But is Victoria Secret’s 2019 fashion show canceled? In a bombshell new interview, model and longtime Victoria’s Secret Angel Shanina Shaik seemed to confirm that the lingerie-laden extravaganza will not be taking place this year. While it has previously been reported that the show might not be broadcast on TV, a total cancellation would certainly qualify as new intel.

Speaking to the Australian publication The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, Shaik — who has walked in the show numerous times from 2011 to 2018 — revealed that no preparations are presently being made for the show. Her comments come to us via Daily Mail: “Unfortunately, the Victoria’s Secret Show won’t be happening this year,” the 28-year-old model told the Telegraph. “It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an Angel.” When asked if the show’s cancelation could be permanent, Shaik suggested this year’s absence was likely temporary as the show’s organizers are “trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show, because it’s the best show in the world.”

Victoria’s Secret did not immediately respond to SheKnows’ request for comment on the cancellation so, for now, the news remains speculative.

Having said that, would it be such a bad thing if the show were shelved permanently? We’re inclined to say no. The show is routinely plagued by criticisms, like last year’s intense backlash concerning the comments of L Brands CMO Ed Razek (L Brands is Victoria’s Secret’s parent company). Ahead of the 2018 show, Razek had this to say: “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.” He had similar comments about plus-size models, and critics — including 2018 performer Halsey — were quick to blast both Razek and Victoria’s Secret as a whole for their lack of inclusivity.

It goes without saying that the show’s narrow vision of beauty is problematic. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has long been accused of promoting unhealthy body standards, an issue that Shaik unintentionally alludes to by mentioning “training like an Angel.” Historically, the women who walk the runway in these shows have been extremely thin, tall, cis women. It’s too homogenous, and it sends an unrealistic and exclusionary message to women watching about the definition of beauty and sexiness.

The show defends it as fantasy, but let’s just call it as we see it — it seems anachronistic in the #MeToo era, where women are stepping into their power and insisting our bodies don’t exist to satisfy the male gaze. Add to that the fact that L Brands is under increasing scrutiny for their relationship with billionaire sex predator Jeffrey Epstein, and there’s more than enough reason to skip the show this year. Until Victoria’s Secret manages to turn the show into a celebration of the diverse body types that women (binary and non-binary) really have, we’re not too sorry to say goodbye.

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