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Victoria’s Secret is currently wholly-owned by L Brands, an umbrella company which owns several other brands, including PINK, itself originally a subsidiary of Victoria’s Secret. The sale of Victoria’s Secret to L Brands was made for a mere $1 million back in 1982. Within ten years, Victoria’s Secret was worth over $1 billion, having become the largest seller of lingerie in the USA, partly through the smart use of Victoria Secrets coupons that offered great discounts on their main lines.
It became so successful because it changed lingerie from a niche kink into a mainstream obsession. The name itself suggests the classy restraint of the Victorian era, while acknowledging the after-hours appeal of what is, when you get right down to it, just nice underwear.
With the success of Victoria’s Secret came an opening up of society’s attitudes towards sex and sexuality (how much one influenced the other would be a matter of endless debate). The fact that so many pop music videos now feature women in nothing but lingerie is, in part, due to the fact that Victoria’s Secret brought appreciation of lingerie into American mainstream culture with their tasteful approach to stores and modelling. And of course partly down to the change in society that was happening anyway, and that Victoria’s Secret was perfectly placed to take advantage of. In the 1970s, it would’ve been unthinkable that a lingerie fashion show would be one of the biggest fashion shows the world, a major network television event and a major showcase for pop musicians, yet the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is all three!
From their point of view, they were either trendsetters with an enormous cultural influence or the people who were smart enough to see the trend coming and jump on board before anyone else did. Either way, they can make a serious claim to being a big part of the change in people’s attitudes towards sex and sexuality.
Of course, they never would have been successful at any of that if they hadn’t had a great product to sell, however classy their stores were. Fortunately for them, they had excellent products right from the start, and they’ve only improved by adding accessories, beachwear and the PINK line of lingerie, any of which can be discounted if you have a Victoria Secret promo code. They recognised from the start that lingerie isn’t a monolith. Firstly, different people want different things: They have different tastes, different shapes, etc. Secondly, the same people want different things at different times: The lingerie for your wedding night is not – or doesn’t have to be – the same as the lingerie for when you’re in a bad mood and want to wear something nice under your boring work clothes. Victoria’s Secret always understood this and that’s why they’re not only the biggest name in lingerie but the only one everyone can name, even people who (say they) have no interest in lingerie whatsoever.
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