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Victoria's Secret is an Americanmarker retailer of women's wear, lingerie and beauty products. It is the largest segment of publicly-traded Limited Brands with sales surpassing $5 billion USD and an operating income of $1 billion in 2006. Victoria's Secret is known for its fashion shows and catalogues, which feature top fashion models.

History

Victoria's Secret was started in San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker, in 1977 by Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus Roy Raymond, who felt embarrassed trying to purchase lingerie for his wife in a department store environment. He opened the first store at Stanford Shopping Centermarker, and quickly followed it with a mail-order catalog and three other stores. The stores were meant to create a comfortable environment for men, with wood-paneled walls, Victorian details and helpful sales staff. Instead of racks of bras and panties in every size, there were single styles, paired together and mounted on the wall in frames. Men could browse for styles for women and sales staff would help estimate the appropriate size, pulling from inventory in the back. In 1982, after five years of operations, Roy Raymond sold the company to The Limited.

The Limited kept the personalized image of Victoria's Secret intact. Victoria's Secret was rapidly expanded into the U.S. malls throughout the 1980s. The company was able to vend a widened range of products, such as shoes, evening wear, and perfumes, with its mail catalog issued eight times annually.

By the early 1990s, Victoria's Secret had become the largest American lingerie retailer, topping one billion dollars.

On July 10, 2007, Limited Brands sold 75% of The Limited clothing chain to firm Sun Capital Partners to focus and boost sales growth on Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and Bath & Body Works units, which provided 72% of revenue in 2006 and almost all the firm's profit. There are 1,000 Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and 100 independent Victoria's Secret Beauty Stores in the US, mostly in shopping centers. It sells brassieres, panties, hosiery, cosmetics, sleepwear, and other products. Victoria's Secret mails more than 400 million of its catalogs per year. Under pressure from environmentalist groups, Victoria's Secret's parent firm and a conservation group have reached an agreement to make the lingerie retailer's catalog more environmentally friendly in 2006. The catalog will no longer be made of pulp supplied from any woodland caribou habitat range in Canada, unless it has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The catalogs will also be made of 10 percent recycled paper from post-consumer waste.

Victoria's Secret is now attempting to build its image with a fairly conservative, middle-class shopper in mind, avoiding any connotations of sleaziness that lingerie might carry.

The company gained notoriety in the early 1990s after it began to use supermodels in its advertising and fashion shows. Throughout the past decade, it has turned down celebrity models and endorsements.

For men, Victoria's Secret launched a "Very Sexy For Him" set, which includes cologne and aftershave.

Victoria's Secret makes use of a rigorous customer service model, stressing upselling, frequent staff attention, and signing up customers for a store credit card that provides discounts for frequent shoppers in the way of coupons by mail and free merchandise.

Victoria's Secret Angels

Victoria's Secret Angels on a commercial for the Secret Embrace line.


"Victoria's Secret Angels" are the brand's most visible models and spokeswomen. The VS Angels made their début in 1999 in the fourth annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Daniela Pestova, Karen Mulder, Laetitia Casta, Heidi Klum, Stephanie Seymour, and Tyra Banks are among the "Angels" from the original promotion. In May 2007, the Victoria's Secret Angels, including Adriana Lima, Selita Ebanks, Alessandra Ambrosio, Izabel Goulart, and Karolina Kurkova were chosen to be part of People Magazine's annual "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" issue.On November 13, 2007, Victoria's Secret Angels became the first trademark awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker. The 'Angels' are among the world's best-paid models.

Current



The models started working for the company before being contracted as Angels. Listed below are the years the current Angels started shooting and working for the company. Their first runway show for the company is the second year listed below. The years the models were contracted into Angels are listed above.



Former



Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

In 1995, Victoria's Secret held its first fashion show; the world press reported it as the "lingerie event of the century." In 1999, the VS company made broadcast history in simultaneously broadcasting a live fashion show online and at Times Square, drawing some 1.5 million viewers, after being advertised during the Super Bowl American football game.

In 2000, the show was held in Cannesmarker, Francemarker, during the Cannes Film Festivalmarker to raise money for the Cinema Against AIDS charity; it raised $3.5 million.

In 2001, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show made its broadcast television debut on ABC, drawing millions of viewers and middle-brow controversy; the Federal Communications Commission receives many complaints about each broadcast every time.

In 2004, instead of the annual fashion show, The Angels (Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio) did an Angels Across America Tour, a grassroots campaign for the brand visiting four major cities, New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

In 2005, the Rutgers Universitymarker Drumline made a guest appearance for the show's finale. This was Tyra Banks' last runway appearance.

The 2007 show featured a performance by the Spice Girls and gained prominence as the first American TV debut of the band after their comeback. Kanye West was also scheduled to perform at the event, but cancelled his appearance due to his mother's death. Will.i.am was called to perform in his place.

The fashion show features mostly lingerie. Typically, one model is chosen among the Angels to wear a bejeweled bra dubbed the "Fantasy Bra". It was first advertised in the Victoria's Secret catalog, but since 2001 has been worn in the Fashion Shows. Heidi Klum is the only Angel who has worn three Fantasy Bras. Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, and Karolina Kurkova have each worn two Fantasy Bras.

In 2006, Victoria's Secret's sub-brand Pink made its debut on the runway. The show has since evolved into a lavish event with elaborate costumed-lingerie, varying music, and set design according to the different themes running within the show. The show attracts hundreds of celebrities and entertainers, with special performers and/or acts every year. The giant angel wings worn by the models, as well as other wings of various forms and sizes such as butterfly, peacock, or devil wings, are Victoria's Secret's fashion trademark. The fashion show is also a meeting of today's supermodels, who are always posing in the middle, after the final walk.

In the past, most of the clothing exhibited was not for sale, but in 2005, the show featured the clothing for sale in the catalog.

Year Broadcast date Television network Viewers (millions) Guest performers
2001 November 15 ABC 12.4 Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli
2002 November 20 CBS 10.5 Destiny's Child
2003 November 19 CBS 9.4 Sting, Mary J. Blige, Eve
2004 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2005 December 6 CBS 8.9 Chris Botti, Ricky Martin, Seal, Rutgers Universitymarker Drumline
2006 December 5 CBS 6.8 Justin Timberlake
2007 December 4 CBS 7.4 Spice Girls, Will.i.am, Seal and Heidi Klum
2008 December 3 CBS 8.7 Usher, Jorge Moreno
2009 December 1 CBS TBA Black Eyed Peas


References

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