As consumers are forced to re-examine an already contentious relationship with Victoria’s Secret and its annual fashion show, the brand will now have to begin its own reconfiguration. On Wednesday, the Financial Times announced its chief executive, Jan Singer, has stepped down from her role at L Brands Inc, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company. Singer leaves the company just a week after a controversial interview between Ed Razek, chief marketing officer at L Brands and Vogue magazine.
Razek largely overshadowed the show’s taping (and the news of Adriana Lima’s final walk) by admitting the brand was not looking to be especially diverse or inclusive. “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000],” Razek told Vogue last week. “No one had any interest in it, still don’t.” Further, he said, “I don’t think we can be all things to all customers. It is a specialty business; it isn’t a department store.” Elsewhere in the controversial interview, Razek claimed the brand doesn’t have any interest in casting transgender models in the show, either. “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. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
Days later, Razek walked back his comments on Twitter and in a statement said: “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings…And like many others, they didn’t make it. It was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
The brand has yet to make an official announcement of Singer’s departure but perhaps will speak to the change in leadership on Monday, when L Brand releases its quarterly earnings.
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