Victoria's Secret Releases Gorgeous Pre-Fall 2019 Ad Campaign As Stock Falls Under Epstein Scandal

Rubina Dyan by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Rubina Dyan @ AOC

Rubina Dyan by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Rubina Dyan @ AOC

Embattled lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret releases its pre-fall 2019 campaign, with product and an editorial vision under new CEO, former Tory Burch president John Mehas.

The campaign is shot by Adam Franzino, very much in the style of my Victoria’s Secret vision and features VS Angels Elsa Hosk, Jasmine Tookes, Romee Strijd, Martha Hunt and Taylor Hill joined by Rubina Dyan.

VS Angel Romee Strijd by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Romee Strijd @ AOC

VS Angel Romee Strijd by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Romee Strijd @ AOC

It’s critically important that both Victoria’s Secret founder Les Wexner (who hired me) and marketing chief Ed Razek (the man with a very big mouth in the fall of 2018, along with his eye for beautiful women) give John Mehas all the room he needs, as the Victoria’s Secret brand reels under the weight of yet another scandal.

VS Angel Elsa Hosk by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Elsa Hosk @ AOC.

VS Angel Elsa Hosk by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Elsa Hosk @ AOC.

The past few days have been the worst in the history of Victoria’s Secret. First we had NIKE’s gut punch, announcing that they are now the top seller of bras in America, accompanied by the very unflattering but honest comments about VS by Karlie Kloss in British Vogue, and now the Victoria’s Secret linkage into the Jeffrey Epstein scandal — which has even me reeling in despair.

I’ve been totally exasperated by Victoria’s Secret for some time now, but the Jeffrey Epstein story has me weeping for the brand that I’ve loved so much.

VS Angel Taylor Hill by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Taylor Hill @ AOC

VS Angel Taylor Hill by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Taylor Hill @ AOC

CBS News wrote July 11, 2019:

Victoria's Secret has long lived by the business mantra sex sells. But its corporate parent's connections to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier arrested and charged Monday with the sex trafficking of underage women, could further sink the fortunes of the ailing lingerie retailer, damaging a brand that already had seemed out of touch in the #MeToo era.

L Brands shares are down 10% this week, to around $25, near the lowest they've been since 2010, after news accounts detailed the decades-old dealings between Epstein and L Brands CEO Les Wexner, the 81-year-old corporate legend who built his family's single clothing store outside Columbus, Ohio, into a global retail empire. 

VS Angel Romee Strijd by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Romee Strijd @ AOC

VS Angel Romee Strijd by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Romee Strijd @ AOC

Epstein's New York City mansion, where I worked more than once as a Victoria’s Secret executive and trust me, it was all on the up and up, is where prosecutors say they found a trove of naked pictures of underage girls last weekend. The supersized mansion was once owned by Les Wexner, who reportedly transferred the home for as little as a dollar to Epstein, his onetime financial adviser.

VS Angel Martha Hunt by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Martha Hunt @ AOC.

VS Angel Martha Hunt by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Martha Hunt @ AOC.

CBS News continues with reporting that coincides with all the major reporting I’ve been embroiled in the entire week — just trying to piece together the events swirling around my own decade-long career at VS headquarters. While it’s painful to write, there’s no way to omit the fury surrounding Victoria’s Secret with the release of this beautiful new ad campaign.

I understand the power of women’s voices — even if VS hasn’t for many years now. There’s no ethical way to write about a new ad campaign without addressing the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. I love Victoria’s Secret even if it’s now a sad version of my own hard work. Each VS customer will make their own decisions about their relationship with the so-troubled lingerie brand. I want to see Victoria’s Secret succeed again for many reasons, and will take no advocacy position for or against it — unless another shoe drops.

VS Angel Taylor Hill by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Taylor Hill @ AOC

VS Angel Taylor Hill by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Taylor Hill @ AOC

CBS News continues:

Wexner at times has described Epstein as both a close friend and a trusted adviser. The link between Epstein and Wexner and his corporations is detailed in financial filings going back to the mid-1990s. A 1994 filing from The Limited Inc., the previous corporate name of L Brands, lists Epstein as a financial adviser and a trustee of the Wexner Foundation. The business address listed for Epstein is the same listed for the Columbus headquarters of Wexner's Limited.

Epstein has said he started working for Wexner in 1986, a few years after he left a trader job at Wall Street's legendary Bear Stearns. A 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein described him as a "familiar face to many of the Victoria's Secret girls" who had enjoyed had a front row seat at the 2002 Victoria's Secret fashion show.

While I left the Victoria’s Secret business over my own growing concerns about both the pricing strategy of the brand, but more importantly the marketing strategy, I must say for the record that I never, never, never, never saw or heard of a hint of impropriety around the sex trafficking of young girls and women.

Not that they would have told me, of course. I was the home office rebel activist fighting for models of color and against betraying our personal relationship around sexuality in terms of their sexuality. I was always reading to walk out the door over these principles, so I’m the last person who would have known about unethical activity connected to the brand.

Looking at these images, I believe that John Mehas and I probably share a similar sympatico about the Victoria’s Secret brand. That gives me positive pause, even if the imagery is only transitional in Mehas’ mind. Not only did the new CEO work as president of Tory Burch — a very strong womancentric luxury brand — but he has experience at Club Monaco, Gap and Bloomingdale’s. My overall sense is that Mehas has a much deeper understanding of today’s women and especially younger women than either Wexner or Razak.

Wexner at times has described Epstein as both a close friend and a trusted adviser. The link between Epstein and Wexner and his corporations is detailed in financial filings going back to the mid-1990s. A 1994 filing from The Limited Inc., the previous corporate name of L Brands, lists Epstein as a financial adviser and a trustee of the Wexner Foundation. The business address listed for Epstein is the same listed for the Columbus headquarters of Wexner's Limited.

Epstein has said he started working for Wexner in 1986, a few years after he left a trader job at Wall Street's legendary Bear Stearns. A 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein described him as a "familiar face to many of the Victoria's Secret girls" who had enjoyed had a front row seat at the 2002 Victoria's Secret fashion show.

VS Angel Taylor Hill by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign.  Taylor Hill @ AOC

VS Angel Taylor Hill by Adam Franzino in Victoria’s Secret lingerie pre-fall 2019 campaign. Taylor Hill @ AOC

We really don’t know where this story will end. Les Wexner at times has described Epstein as both a close friend and a trusted adviser. CBS News reports the details revealed in quick Google searches.

The link between Epstein and Wexner and his corporations is detailed in financial filings going back to the mid-1990s. A 1994 filing from The Limited Inc., the previous corporate name of L Brands, lists Epstein as a financial adviser and a trustee of the Wexner Foundation. The business address listed for Epstein is the same listed for the Columbus headquarters of Wexner's Limited. These facts obviously give me great pause, because they occur during my tenure at the company

Epstein has said he started working for Wexner in 1986, a few years after he left a trader job at Wall Street's legendary Bear Stearns. A 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein described him as a "familiar face to many of the Victoria's Secret girls" who had enjoyed had a front row seat at the 2002 Victoria's Secret fashion show.

The only person missing from this sordid tale of Jeffrey Epstein is Donald Trump, who is trying to dismiss their own connections as being irrelevant. Right, on Trump.

So — we have a beautiful pre-fall 2019 Victoria’s Secret ad campaign. I pray to the goddesses that the brand can be restored to its lost glory, that Ed Razek goes away soon because he is not a positive advocate for the brand and hasn’t been for a long time, that Les Wexner’s regains from me the enormous respect I’ve had for him over the years, and — most important — that Victoria’s Secret is not involved in any way in the Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking scandal now or during my Victoria’s Secret tenure.

Being such an advocate for women and girls for my entire life, it would kill me to know that was happening under my nose and I had no idea. Let us pray for Epstein’s victims. They are not young prostitutes. They are young girls, often 14-15 who have difficult lives and are searching for their own self-worth. They are totally vulnerable and easily preyed upon by dirty old — and young — men who promise them new wings in a wonderful, high-flying world. Written with tears ~ Anne