The closest thing to a royal wedding in America this year might be the upcoming nuptials of Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge and Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill. The Brits can have their fairytale prince and princess; over here we’ve got a King marrying an Angel — with a corporate sponsor. What could be more American than that?
Victoria’s Secret this week launched its new Sexy Little Bride™ collection, no doubt to piggyback on Wills-Kate fever and to give Lily something to wear to Bonnaroo. But the whole thing just makes me squirm — both the collection itself and the marketing surrounding it. Here’s why:
The SLB™ range is a half-hearted, downmarket assortment of pieces, not a bridal lingerie “collection” by any means. It’s mostly a reorganization of the VS catalogue aimed at skimming a few points of market share from brands and designers who make the effort to develop true bridal ranges. There are a handful of new items (I’ll get to those in a minute), but the new online VS bridal “shop” contains a strange hodgepodge of things: a “bridal” hoodie, a beach coverup, yummy body chocolate and other erotic novelties, random bits of shapewear. Even a French maid costume. I am NOT kidding.
There’s a conspicuous lack of imagination in this collection, just lots of semi-raunchy items and very little romance. On the other hand, if your wedding night isn’t complete without Booty Parlor lube and panties imprinted with the words “Property of the Groom” then you’ve come to the right place.
VS got into bridal market last summer when it introduced a bride’s “costume” (above) as part of its Sexy Little Fantasies™ collection of erotic Halloween outfits. Somehow that effort morphed into the new bridal range. In fact, bizarrely, the original bridal fantasy costume is now included in the VS bridal shop. So, if you think your wedding day is just another costume party then, again, you’ve come to the right place.
On a similar note, am I only person who is tired of Victoria’s Secret infantilizing its products, its models and its customers? The “sexy little” branding might be a playful way to sell bras to skinny teenagers, but it’s a tacky way to sell wedding finery. It’s also insulting and hurtful to women who don’t have Lily’s zero-body-fat frame and for whom a tank imprinted with the words “sexy little bride” might be a cruel joke. Women face enough pressure related to “shedding for the wedding” without Victoria’s Secret pushing them over the edge.
The Sexy Little Bride™ commercial (below) stars Lily, which is suspiciously opportunistic given her well-publicized engagement. When Victoria’s Secret first launched this collection back in January, the photoshoot featured Candice Swanepoel, the South African bombshell who is now the subject of controversy surrounding her shocking recent weight loss. Candice’s absence from the new bridal campaign is conspicuous, and it’s hard not to wonder if VS is keeping her out of the spotlight for a while. If so, maybe it will even make them reconsider their fixation with sexy little™ bodies.
The commercial itself is the kind of well-produced eye candy we’ve come to expect from VS, but the companion behind-the-scenes video (see below) is a bit creepy. Lily struggles nervously to think of something to say about the collection that doesn’t sound idiotic, and there’s an awkward moment in which she almost eats a piece of cake. Then there’s this unfortunate quote: “I’m very lucky to have Victoria’s Secret to go and splurge for my wedding night.” Huh? The super-rich supermodel is going to “splurge” on a $15 garter or perhaps go whole-hog on a $75 polyester nightie? Something tells me the Sex On Fire lovebirds can do better.
Victoria’s Secret is a push-up bra and panty powerhouse, but it’s obviously struggling to find a place for itself in the bridal market. The SLB™ collection includes a few “new” bras (which are actually borrowed and re-styled from existing collections), and several attractive babydolls that are trousseau-worthy if you are on a budget and can’t spring for real silk pieces (photos below).
The best items in the collection are a lace bridal kimono and a scalloped bridal wrap — inexpensive and romantic nylon pieces that you won’t wear for long.
Our advice? Visit BHLDN instead for a reasonably priced selection of wonderful bridal lingerie from designers who care about what they create.
But if you must shop at Victoria’s Secret for your bridal kit, just remember — don’t buy anything with a VS logo on it. Your wedding day is all about you, not them.
Below you’ll find the two videos associated with the VS bridal offerings, along with some images of the pieces we recommend.