Victoria's Secret announces the return of its beloved swimwear line just a few years after discontinuing it

By Colleen Kratofil
November 20, 2018 01:50 PM

After Victoria’s Secret announced it was discontinuing its swimwear line, as well as its famous swimwear catalog, in 2016, in order to focus on more profitable lines, the brand has decided to change course entirely and bring back bikinis and one-pieces for spring 2019.

The news was announced this morning during a Victoria’s Secret earnings call with Stuart Burgdoerfer, the CFO of L Brands (Victoria’s Secret parent company) PEOPLE confirms. Burgdoerfer also announced that Victoria’s Secret will also release eyewear and footwear next year as well.

This move comes at a time when Victoria’s Secret is struggling to find its footing in a changing retail landscape.

Sales are down. According to CNBC, shares at L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel and PINK plummeted about 38 percent this year.

At the same time, leadership is wavering. On Tuesday, L Brands also announced John Mehas as the new chief executive of Victoria’s Secret. He’s set to replace former CEO Jan Singer in early 2019, according to WWD. Singer resigned last week after two years with the brand.

Victoria’s Secret’s outgoing CEO Jan Singer.
| Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

And, there has been increasing backlash against the brand for its lack of inclusion, which was glaringly evident at its annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which taped in N.Y.C. this month.

Following the taping of its annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands said in an interview with Vogue that the brand would not hire trans or curvy models because they did not fit into the “fantasy” of the show.

“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,” Razek told the magazine.

Credit: Donato Sardella/WireImage
Alessandra Ambrosio and Behati Prinsloo at the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Swim reveal.
| Credit: Mediapunch/REX/Shutterstock

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Celebrities including model Tess Holliday and Rihanna slammed the brand for Razek’s remarks and the size-inclusive line, ThirdLove, voiced its disapproval in a big way.

Heidi Zak, the founder and CEO of ThirdLove, penned a letter to Victoria’s Secret in the New York Times to address all of her concerns with Victoria’s Secret.

She wrote that she was “appalled” by Razek’s comments that “no one had any interest in it” when they pursued the idea of curvier models in the show in 2000.

“I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier,” Zak said. “How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?”

“You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women,” she continued. Adding, “Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles? It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide.”

Razek has apologized for his comments.

“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” Razek said. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to casting… And like many others, they didn’t make it…But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”