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Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is officially canceled for 2019

Victoria's Secret cancels fashion show

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has been a world-famous annual event, showcasing famous models as they grace the runway in extravagant lingerie. But after more than two decades, the prime-time fashion show has been canceled. 

The brand's parent company, L Brands, confirmed the news on Thursday. "We'll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show," chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer said during the company's third-quarter earnings call. 

Plans to "evolve the marketing of Victoria's Secret" come in the face of a "decline in performance," L Brands said in its earnings report. The company says it has "substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business while we focus on ensuring that our merchandise resonates with customers."

The lingerie giant's fashion show was once a ratings powerhouse, but in recent years, amid various bouts of controversy, ratings have plummeted. Last year, its viewership was down to just 3.27 million people tuning in, according to Nielsen — the lowest since the event began airing on TV in 2001.

Back in May, the company announced that the show would no longer air on network television. "We must evolve and change to grow. With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don't believe network television is the right fit," a press release from Victoria's Secret read.

The official cancellation may not come as a surprise to many, including some of the show's seasoned models. In August, Australian model Shanina Shaik leaked news that the event was going to be axed. "Unfortunately, the Victoria's Secret show won't be happening this year," Shaik told Britain's Daily Telegraph.

The $7 billion lingerie empire was built on the idea that "sex sells," but its fashion show has drawn criticism over and over again for its image. Victoria's Secret has had trouble appealing to a new generation in the #MeToo era as it has been accused of objectifying women and lacking diversity.

Leading up to last year's show, the company's former chief marketing officer Ed Razek made dismissive comments about plus-sized and transgender models. "We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes…No one had any interest in it, still don't," he said.  When asked about including transgender models he said, "I don't think we should… the show is a fantasy." 

And more recently, Les Wexner, the CEO of L Brands, came under increased scrutiny for his close connection to convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein, who served as Wexner's financial adviser

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