COLUMBUS, United States — Victoria’s Secret is partnering with a French luxury label to sell high-end lingerie as its new leader looks to expand beyond discounted bras and underwear.
The struggling retailer will begin offering a line from LIVY at its flagship stores in London and New York next week, as well as on its website as of Wednesday. The lingerie features graphic-back designs and significantly higher prices, like a $350 leather bustier, a $490 embroidered kimono and a $150 monowire bra.
The partnership is the first indication of the strategy being taken by John Mehas, who was named chief executive of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie in November. A former president of fashion label Tory Burch, he succeeded Jan Singer, who left after just two years in the role.
Shares of parent L Brands have slumped 45 percent in the past 12 months and same-store sales, a key retail metric, at Victoria’s Secret have fallen the past two quarters.
Victoria’s Secret has taken a hit for failing to keep up with shifting consumer demands, especially involving themes of female empowerment and diversity. An executive came under fire last fall for remarks regarding the lack of trans and plus-size models in the label’s annual fashion show.
Its reticence to change has been made even more pronounced with the emergence of competitors like singer Rihanna’s lingerie company Savage X Fenty, American Eagle Outfitters Inc.’s Aerie and ThirdLove, which aim to be more inclusive of women of different shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Underwear trends have also been shifting toward comfort and athleticism, rather than lacy, padded and push-up.
With the LIVY tie-up, the company appears to be doubling down on its signature sexy skew. The collection from Paris-base designer Lisa Chavy is full of tattoo appliqués and lace. Descriptions of various LIVY garments on Victoria’s Secret’s website tout them as “sexy and fierce,” “very sexy” and "ultra sexy.”
By Kim Bhasin; editors: Anne Riley Moffat, Lisa Wolfson and Mark Schoifet.