Russell James Portraits New VS Model Lorena Duran as Sensual Phoenix Teases Rise from Ashes

We have excellent news from new Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas, as he moves to stabilize sales, revenue and customer sentiments at the world’s largest lingerie brand. As a 10-year veteran of VS — both the brand’s fashion director and director of product development, with a strong voice on brand positioning, I believe Mehas is extracting VS brand DNA from its glory years.

This doesn’t mean that Mehas will stay put — that’s unlikely and is rarely good business. But the Victoria’s Secret brand needs to catch its breath. L Brands stock tanked again on Friday, diving 6.91% on a downgrade from RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Tunick.

With former L Brands CMO Ed Razek and his love for the thinnest possible “bombshells” jumping out of helicopters in Hollywood action commercials by Michael Bay, Mehas can follow his own prized Tory Burch instincts, in consultation with boss Les Wexner, of course.

However, the parent company L Brands chair and CEO has his hands full dealing with the feds. Wexner (who I’ve respected enormously in my life, having been hired by him) has been cooperating for several months in the Jeffrey Epstein case, according to new media reports.

If Les is smart (which he clearly is), he will listen to John Mehas, who is frankly less interested in stimulating male fantasies and more interested in being a close friend to women of all shapes, sizes and sexual persuasions. You can bank on that fact.

VS needs all the support we can muster in our own USA economic interest, so let’s give the formerly great lingerie brand a break. AOC applauds its new hire model Lorena Duran and putting Russell James (who I’ve always adored) behind the lens to photograph her.

Russell James has an impeccable reputation with the VS models for decades. And few contemporary photographers have a better grasp of photographing upscale female sensuality — transgender, bisexual, gay or straight. Russell James respects and appreciates women. (Whatever group I forgot, please forgive me. Surely you get my point.)

I doubt that the Russell James images are unretouched, but the Aussie photographer has always maintained a soft hand with the male-dominated, make women perfect tool. James’ instincts and ideas about VS are of value in this stop the bleeding effort, based on his long years of experience up and down the celebrity brand escalator with Victoria’s Secret.

Reading many new articles including Can Victoria’s Secret Get Its Sexy Back? The Jury Is Still Out at Forbes, I must remind us that VS is a women’s brand. If she is a fallen woman, it’s at the hands of plenty of panting, breathless Wall Street guys who couldn’t wait for the VS fashion show.

Now they have thrown poor Victoria to the side of the curb, as she’s no longer the call girl brand they helped make her. Women have left her, because it seems like they no longer mattered much in the testosterone-fueled sexual vision of Ed Razek, kingmaker of models. That’s a head-trip for most men.

It’s not that VS can really take a pause, with Wall Street vultures justifiably on its heels for losing a pot of money, and the Trump economy not what the blowhard US president fantasizes it is. Note that he and Melania became VS fashion shows in the later Epstein years.

Thankfully, I was outta there, as Donald and Melania Trump were never in sync with the the sexuality of American women. Good goddess, the man now sponsors legislation eliminating access to birth control and is hell-bent on destroying Planned Parenthood,

When retail life gets this bleak, a lingerie brand learns who its real friends are. I’m not an “I told you” so kind of woman. Smart Sensuality women forgive and we even forget — as long as VS truly understands the ways in which it needs to change on its own terms.

VS is not any of these other brands commanding well deserved attention in today’s lingerie market. VS is the queen . . . but even British royalty is changing under Harry and Meghan.

All my instincts tell me that VS CEO John Mehas has the right stuff — so give the man some room to breath. I know this is very difficult given the current economic climate

Meanwhile, adding transgender model Valentina Sampaio and now Lorena Duran to the mix, coupled with intimate, sensual, lingerie art photography by Russell James is an excellent palate cleanser.

The next act of Victoria’s Secret must stay true to herself, and to millions of women young and older who really loved her. We may be annoyed or even mad over her corruption, but nothing would make us happier then to see the phoenix rise out of the ashes.

Don’t be copycats VS. Put that crown on your head . . chin up . . . shoulders back . . . and face the dawn of a new day. You can do it, if you try!! But you gotta hustle. ~ Anne