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Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 10:10:18 AM
by louisa lim
There is more to Victoria’s Secret than just lustrous, leggy beauties in Angel garb and sexy lingerie.
EVERY year in the days preceding Christmas, fantasy becomes reality as the world’s most beautiful women, or “Angels”, take to the catwalks of New York clad in stunning lingerie and little else.
This highly anticipated fashion show by Victoria’s Secret never fails to astound with its big names – Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima, Gisele Bundchen, etc – and an even bigger budget, rumoured this year to be over US$12mil (RM37.6mil).
But while the brand’s glittering success is known far and wide, less so is the compelling tale behind its creation.
It all began in 1977 with Roy Raymond, a Californian business graduate, after his embarrassing experience in the lingerie section of a department store. Raymond, who wanted to create a place for men to shop for their missus’ undies in privacy and comfort, named his first store Victoria’s Secret, after Britain’s (supposedly very uptight and strait-laced!) 19th-century monarch Queen Victoria, and designed it to resemble a Victorian boudoir.
According to Time magazine, his concept was so successful that by 1982, he had five stores in America and a 42-page mail-order catalogue.
Raymond never got to enjoy the fruits of his labour, however. According to slate.com, he sold the company in 1982 for US$1mil to Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder of The Limited clothing chain, before Victoria’s Secret hit its peak. After several bad investments, Raymond lost all his money and ended his own life at the age of 46 by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Meanwhile, his brainchild has grown from strength to strength. The first Victoria’s Secret fashion show was held in 1995 at New York’s Plaza Hotel to promote the brand in a high-profile way. According to the Huffington Post, however, it was – compared with its modern counterpart – a subdued event, with nary any glitter, costume or wing in sight. Instead, spotted on the models were cotton undies, the occasional silk robe and lace-trimmed bra-and-shorts sets.
The shows slowly started getting fancier. By 1999, plenty of angel wings and more costumes were added, including Bundchen’s US$15mil (RM47.5mil) ruby-and-diamond-encrusted bra and panty set in 2000.
Today, the brand is synonymous with glamour and sex appeal, so much so that Ed Razek, the company’s chief marketing officer, was quoted in a Forbes article stating that each month he has to turn down a number of requests from celebrities desperate to be honorary Angels.
Thanks to local luxury retail giant Valiram, Malaysian women can now participate in this phenomenon. While the iconic lingerie seems to be missing from the racks of Malaysian stores – the first of which opened late last year – there are still a number of gems that visitors can look forward to, like fashion accessories as well as bath and beauty products.
We’re talking passport holder, sunnies, fragrances, bags – all of which are as desirable as the models representing them.
Brand new this holiday season are the getaway-ready glasses that combine holiday jaunts with Hollywood glam. These wayfarer and aviator frames make a jetsetting statement that comes complete with UV-protected lenses and monogram hardware finishes for a VIP flair.
A variety of arm candy like the Signature Trio Bag, Runway Foldover Wallet and Victoria Tote also make their appearance. Inspired by the Victoria’s Secret runway shows and the Angels themselves, these jewel-toned bags are all glammed up with glitter, stripes and everything nice.
Complete the look by spritzing on a little Victoria – the latest fruity, floral scent that captures the timeless appeal of the brand – and you’re all set for a night on the town.
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Lifestyle, Victoria's Secret, lingerie, Roy Raymond
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