Victoria’s Secret boss to step down as part of major brand shake-up

Victoria’s Secret boss Leslie Wexner is to step down from his role at the brand as part of a major overhaul.The U.S. lingerie label has taken a hit in recent years, with critics calling out executives for failing to promote inclusivity and diversity in…

Victoria’s Secret boss Leslie Wexner is to step down from his role at the brand as part of a major overhaul.

The U.S. lingerie label has taken a hit in recent years, with critics calling out executives for failing to promote inclusivity and diversity in the annual fashion shows.

In addition, Wexner has faced criticism relating to his friendship with disgraced former financial manager, Jeffrey Epstein, and following an expose published in The New York Times earlier this month, former chief marketing officer Ed Razek was accused of inappropriate conduct during his 36-year stint at the company, allegations he denied.

But on Thursday, Wexner announced he would be departing his positions of chief executive officer and chairman of the board of L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret. The 82-year-old will remain a member of the board as Chairman Emeritus.

“Les Wexner is a retail legend who has built incredible brands that are household names around the globe. His leadership through this transition exemplifies his commitment to further growth of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret and driving overall shareholder value,” said Allan Tessler, lead independent board director, in a statement.

Furthermore, leaders at the company have confirmed that they have made a deal to sell a 55 per cent stake in Victoria’s Secret to a private equity fund called Sycamore Partners.

After taking into account certain liabilities, Sycamore bosses will purchase a 55 per cent interest in Victoria’s Secret for approximately $525 million (£407 million), while L Brands will retain a 45 per cent stake.

“Sycamore, which has deep experience in the retail industry and a superior track record of success, will bring a fresh perspective and greater focus to the business,” added Wexner. “We believe that, as a private company, Victoria’s Secret will be better able to focus on longer-term results. We are pleased that, by retaining a significant ownership stake, our shareholders will have the ability to meaningfully participate in the upside potential of these iconic brands.”

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Leomie Anderson praises Victoria’s Secret amid scandal

Leomie Anderson has praised bosses at Victoria’s Secret for supporting her outspoken nature even as the lingerie company battles an ongoing scandal.The British model began walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2015, and after making four con…

Leomie Anderson has praised bosses at Victoria’s Secret for supporting her outspoken nature even as the lingerie company battles an ongoing scandal.

The British model began walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2015, and after making four consecutive appearances, was promoted to Angel status last year – although the 2019 event was cancelled as part of a plan to overhaul the firm, which has been criticised for its lack of diversity and inclusivity.

However, in a new interview with Refinery29, Anderson, a champion of diversity, defended the brand and praised executives for allowing her to speak her mind on social media.

“Victoria’s Secret is a brand that I really love working with because they’ve allowed me to be myself,” she explained. “Funnily enough, a bunch of people want to talk about the lack of diversity (but) they’re a brand that has never tried to silence me or make me feel uncomfortable with the fact that I’m very vocal on issues.

“I know a lot of brands, big brands, steer clear of anybody who says anything that’s even remotely political. I know brands who are scared of girls who put #BlackLivesMatter on social media. So, the fact that Victoria’s Secret supports me in what I have to say really meant a lot to me.”

Anderson also added that there was also a practical reason why she was excited to become an Angel.

She said, “A lot of models dream of getting a contract because our job is so volatile. I want to have something stable.”

It is unclear if the model’s interview took place before or after The New York Times published an expose earlier this month.

In the piece, Ed Razek, the former chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret parent company, L Brands, was accused of harassment, bullying, and perpetuating a culture of misogyny. He has denied all the allegations.

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Cyndi Lauper defends Victoria’s Secret amid misogyny scandal

Cyndi Lauper has defended Victoria’s Secret as the embattled lingerie brand faces a misogyny scandal.Executives at the U.S. label, who cancelled the annual fashion show last year, are facing increasing demands to overhaul the entire company following t…

Cyndi Lauper has defended Victoria’s Secret as the embattled lingerie brand faces a misogyny scandal.

Executives at the U.S. label, who cancelled the annual fashion show last year, are facing increasing demands to overhaul the entire company following the publication of an expose by The New York Times which detailed claims of inappropriate conduct against former chief marketing officer Ed Razek.

The 71-year-old, who has denied all allegations, was accused of harassment, bullying, and perpetuating a culture of misogyny.

However, despite the scandal, pop icon Cyndi has come out to defend the lingerie firm.

The Girls Just Want to Have Fun hitmaker told WWD that Victoria’s Secret makes affordable underwear for women who “don’t have a lot of money”.

“Women who don’t have money can go into a store and buy some pretty underwear and feel good,” she added.

The brand has also come under fire for not using a diverse mix of models, with Razek also courting controversy with his comments about plus-size and transgender women before he left his role in August.

Speaking with WWD, Cyndi shared her belief that the brand doesn’t have to showcase an inclusive range of models because it’s “a show”.

“It’s not what real people look like. They have these models; they do all this stuff. It’s a show,” she explained. “You gotta give everybody a break with all of this precious s**t. Do you want to look like a Barbie doll? We all had Barbie dolls when we were little. Guess what? When I took her ponytail out, the little b***h was bald… So what am I supposed to do? I know it’s bulls**t. Nobody has a body shaped like that.”

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Model Alliance demands Victoria’s Secret addresses ‘culture of misogyny’

Members of the Model Alliance have demanded Victoria’s Secret bosses overhaul the entire company following allegations of misogyny.In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, models and employees accused former chief marketing office…

Members of the Model Alliance have demanded Victoria’s Secret bosses overhaul the entire company following allegations of misogyny.

In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, models and employees accused former chief marketing officer Ed Razek of inappropriate conduct during his 36-year stint at the U.S. lingerie label, with claims relating to harassment and bullying. The 71-year-old has denied all allegations.

In light of The New York Times report, members of the Model Alliance, a non-profit organisation that advocates for the protection of those working in the fashion industry, have sent an open letter to John Mehas, chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret, calling for him to “take concrete action” in order to change a “culture of misogyny and abuse”.

“We believe that this moment can be a wake-up call for Victoria’s Secret. This is an opportunity to take meaningful steps towards ending these abuses by joining the RESPECT Program, as models have called for since December 2018. The RESPECT Program – a program of the Model Alliance – is the only existing accountability program designed by and for models,” the letter reads. “Models have access to an independent, confidential complaint mechanism, with swift and fair resolution of complaints and appropriate consequences for abusers. Further, RESPECT includes a robust training program aimed toward prevention, to ensure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.”

In addition, the letter claims officials at the Model Alliance met with leaders at Victoria’s Secret and its parent company L Brands, including chief communications officer Tammy Roberts Myers, five months ago. But in a follow-up email, Myers allegedly commented that “Victoria’s Secret was not ready to take any concrete steps towards addressing these allegations” and that the company is simply, “In the process of continued learning and listening.”

“The time for listening is long past; it’s time for Victoria’s Secret to take action to protect the people they profit from. Human rights violations can’t be stopped with a corporate rebranding exercise,” the letter concluded.

The document was signed by models including Amber Valletta, Christy Turlington, Robyn Lawley, and Karen Elson, as well as photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

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Karen Elson demands industry overhaul following misogyny claims at Victoria’s Secret

Karen Elson has called for changes to be made in the fashion industry following allegations of misogyny at Victoria’s Secret.In a blistering expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, former boss Ed Razek was accused of inappropriate cond…

Karen Elson has called for changes to be made in the fashion industry following allegations of misogyny at Victoria’s Secret.

In a blistering expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, former boss Ed Razek was accused of inappropriate conduct during his 36-year stint at the U.S. lingerie company.

The 71-year-old, who stepped down last year from his role as chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, was accused of harassment, bullying, and perpetuating a culture of misogyny, and accordingly, fashion industry figures have begun speaking out over the claims.

Elson took to her Instagram Stories to share her frustration at the “industry-wide problem” and urged her fellow professionals to help her instigate change.

“Just read the @nytimes report on Victoria Secret (sic). Bullying, coercion and outrageous behaviour still regularly occur in fashion. It’s an industry-wide problem not just for models but all in the industry,” the British supermodel fired. “What’s it going to take? More scandals, exposes and lives negatively impacted or a collective coming to our senses to reform the industry for the better?

“It’s a no-brainer for me, and it’s also the decent thing to do, so we can prevent toxic work environments from going unchecked.”

Razek has denied the allegations, which also included a claim that he once made lewd comments about Bella Hadid’s breasts, and insisted elements of the expose have been “taken out of context”.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with countless, world-class models and gifted professionals and take great pride in the mutual respect we have for each other,” he stated.

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Ed Razek accused of inappropriate behaviour while at Victoria’s Secret

Former Victoria’s Secret executive Ed Razek has been accused of inappropriate conduct during his time at the lingerie company. Razek stepped down from the role of chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, last August, mo…

Former Victoria’s Secret executive Ed Razek has been accused of inappropriate conduct during his time at the lingerie company.

Razek stepped down from the role of chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, last August, months after courting controversy for comments he made about plus-size and transgender models.

Razek, who helped cast the Victoria’s Secret Angels and popularise the annual fashion show, has now been accused of harassment, bullying, and perpetuating a culture of misogyny during his 36 years at the company in an expose by The New York Times.

In the report, sources claim Razek, 71, once made a lewd comment about Bella Hadid’s “perfect” breasts and placed his hand on another model’s underwear-clad crotch at a fitting for the 2018 fashion show.

Other sources claim Razek would ask models for the phone numbers while they were in their underwear. Others were allegedly asked to sit on his lap or invited to dinner.

Andi Muise, who walked in the annual show between 2005 and 2007, claims she agreed to go to dinner with Razek and he tried to kiss her in the car on the way to the restaurant, but she rebuffed him.

He allegedly sent her intimate emails for months and suggested they moved in together in his house in Turks and Caicos. She claims she wasn’t picked for the 2008 show after she skipped a meal at his New York home.

Last summer, an employee reportedly presented the Human Resources department with a document listing more than a dozen allegations about Razek, including his demeaning comments and inappropriate touching.

In response to the expose, the former executive denied the allegations in a statement.

“The accusations in this reporting are categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context. I’ve been fortunate to work with countless, world-class models and gifted professionals and take great pride in the mutual respect we have for each other,” he wrote in an email.

Tammy Roberts Myers, a spokeswoman for L Brands, provided a statement on behalf of the board’s independent directors, which stated that the company “is intensely focused” on corporate governance, workplace, and compliance practices and that it had “made significant strides”.

“We regret any instance where we did not achieve this objective and are fully committed to continuous improvement and complete accountability,” she said.

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Controversial Victoria’s Secret boss Ed Razek steps down

Controversial Victoria’s Secret executive Ed Razek is leaving the company as rumours continue to swirl about the status of the 2019 show.Razek, the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, announced he was retiring from …

Controversial Victoria’s Secret executive Ed Razek is leaving the company as rumours continue to swirl about the status of the 2019 show.

Razek, the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, announced he was retiring from the role in an internal memo sent to employees by L Brands chairman and chief executive Les Wexner on Monday.

In the memo, cited by publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, Razek wrote, “A few weeks ago, I shared with Les my desire to retire sometime around mid August. It was a tough conversation to have because, as some of you must know, we have shared so much together for so many years, including a deep love of this business. Still, it’s time.”

The 71-year-old, who joined the company in 1983, caused controversy last year when he said in an interview with Vogue.com that there was no place for transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion 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,” Razek stated, and later apologised for his “insensitive” remarks.

He said later in the interview that he had considered casting plus-sized models in the annual fashion spectacle but decided against doing so because the company “did not market to the whole world”.

News of his departure comes just one day after Valentina Sampaio became the first transgender model to represent the company – she will be working with the lingerie brand’s athletic line, VS Pink.

And last week, Victoria’s Secret Angel Shanina Shaik claimed the annual fashion event had been cancelled for 2019.

“I’m sure they’re trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show because it’s the best show in the world,” the 28-year-old told Australia’s The Daily Telegraph.

Her comments are yet to be confirmed or denied.

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Valentina Sampaio becomes first transgender model to work for Victoria’s Secret

Valentina Sampaio has made history by becoming the first-ever transgender model to work for Victoria’s Secret.The Brazilian star posted a picture of herself on Instagram at a photoshoot for the lingerie firm on Thursday, which prompted pal Lais Ribiero…

Valentina Sampaio has made history by becoming the first-ever transgender model to work for Victoria’s Secret.

The Brazilian star posted a picture of herself on Instagram at a photoshoot for the lingerie firm on Thursday, which prompted pal Lais Ribiero to later gush about the feat.

“First transgender to shoot with Vs! This make me so happy!” she tweeted, adding a heart emoji.

Valentina responded by posting a video from the shoot, adding the caption: “Never stop dreaming…”

The posts quickly caught the attention of a number of Sampaio’s 190,000 followers, including Victoria’s Secret Angel Lily Aldridge who commented, “Stunning,” along with a string of pink heart emojis, while Orange Is the New Black actress and fellow transgender celebrity Laverne Cox wrote, “Wow finally!”

Previously, Sampaio has landed modelling gigs for the likes of L’Oreal Paris, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and Levi’s. While in March 2017, the 22-year-old became the first transgender model to pose for any edition of Vogue, when she appeared on the cover of Vogue Paris.

The news comes following a recent claim from Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik that the 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been cancelled, after initial reports that the spectacle would not be televised.

Additionally, the company’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, came under fire in the wake of the label’s annual show last year, after telling reporters at U.S. Vogue that he decided against casting transgender models in the 2018 presentation because the brand “did not market to the whole world”. He later apologised on social media for coming across as “insensitive”.

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Grace Elizabeth thrilled to be joining Victoria’s Secret ‘family’

Grace Elizabeth can’t quite believe she is the latest model to get Angel wings at Victoria’s Secret.The rising fashion star kicked off her career in 2015 with campaigns for the likes of Guess and Polo Ralph Lauren and has since gone on to land coveted …

Grace Elizabeth can’t quite believe she is the latest model to get Angel wings at Victoria’s Secret.

The rising fashion star kicked off her career in 2015 with campaigns for the likes of Guess and Polo Ralph Lauren and has since gone on to land coveted gigs for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, and Estee Lauder.

Grace made her debut appearance at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2016, and on Wednesday (10Apr19) was announced as the brand’s new Angel – with the model now describing her colleagues at the U.S. lingerie label as an “incredible family”.

“This almost feels unreal, I’ve been pinching myself all morning! Since the moment I entered the modelling world my goal was to work with Victoria’s Secret. Today I am proud to announce I am… (drumroll please) THE NEWEST ANGEL!!!” she wrote on her Instagram page. “I can’t even express how grateful I am to all of my family, friends, and fans for your constant support and belief in me. You guys have been the biggest force behind my journey. I’m so excited for this next chapter in my life and in my career. Thank you, Ed Razek, Monica Mitro, John Pfeifer, Sophia Neophitou, and Michelle Priano, for welcoming me with open arms to this incredible family. I love you all.”

Following the retirement of longtime Victoria’s Secret Angels like Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio, executives at the company have contracted new faces for the prestigious gig, with Hungarian model Barbara Palvin and British stars Leomie Anderson and Alexina Graham also recently tapped.

And now that Grace has accomplished her dream of becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel, she has set her sights on another of her goals.

“I’m ambitious!” the 22-year-old shared in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “I’d love to do a Jimmy Fallon appearance, book more fashion magazine covers and campaigns and maybe in the future even try acting…basically, all of it!”

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Robyn Lawley: ‘Victoria’s Secret boss Ed Razek hates plus-sized women’

Robyn Lawley has accused Victoria’s Secret boss Ed Razek of “hating plus-sized women”.Razek, the chief marketing officer of the world-famous lingerie brand, came under fire in the wake of the brand’s annual show when he told U.S. Vogue that he’d consid…

Robyn Lawley has accused Victoria’s Secret boss Ed Razek of “hating plus-sized women”.

Razek, the chief marketing officer of the world-famous lingerie brand, came under fire in the wake of the brand’s annual show when he told U.S. Vogue that he’d considered casting transgender and plus-sized models in the spectacle but decided against doing so because the company “did not market to the whole world”. He later apologised on social media for coming across as “insensitive”.

His apology did little to calm curvy Australian model Robyn, however, who has slated the brand in numerous interviews since then.

In her latest, a chat with Who magazine editor Keshnee Kemp for the podcast RAW Talks, Robyn accused Razek of “hating women”.

“I literally said Ed Razek will dig his own grave because he hates plus-sized women,” she explained. “I hate that term, because I’m not plus-size and I don’t think any woman deserves that tag. He hates women, in general.”

Adding that she wishes Victoria’s Secret would take advantage of their huge “platform”, Robyn continued: “Imagine if they sent down a curvy girl. Or just anything different – a size 10 or a 12 or a 14. It just gets boring after a while and I used to buy their brand – they sell my size. Show us how your brand is actually going to look on a body that’s relatable.”

While many of her friends are models, Robyn insisted she’s not campaigning against the average sized model, but just wants “inclusivity”.

And the fact that so many models starve themselves to get the body type the modelling industry wants also doesn’t sit well with mother-of-one Robyn, who has health issues herself.

“I have an autoimmune problem so the fact that anyone is starving themselves like that and damaging their bodies in that way, I’m just like, ‘Why? You could really screw yourself up’,” she mused. “And I can’t believe it’s high fashion – I’ve seen girls just about to collapse and everyone’s going ‘You look so good’ and I’m going, ‘She’s dying! Quite clearly she needs to eat something!’”

“It’s just got too extreme. I’ve seen too many girls too frail to even continue this job – some of my girlfriends had to quit because their bodies couldn’t handle it.”

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