Monday, March 3, 2008

A Secret Worth Keeping?

So Victoria’s Secret thinks it’s time to update its image, with a return to modesty (er . .. femininity).

I remember when this shop was much more tasteful, some eighteen years ago, when I first moved to the United States. When you’d call the catalogue, a plummy British voice would answer, thus feeding the fantasy that VSC was a sophisticated brand from London, undergirding the illusion that Queen Victoria wore lacy dainties under her imposing gowns.

My own take on VSC has gone from one of interest—back in 1990 it was an affordable and pretty place to purchase matching lingerie sets—to embarrassment as the models’ poses have become more aggressively “sexy” (in quotation marks because these poses try so hard, they’re anything but!).

The former poet laureate, Billy Collins, has a poem called “Victoria’s Secret,” which presents a male reader flipping through the catalogue he’s randomly received in the mail. The female models look at him as he looks at them, thus presenting an interesting twist on what we call the “male gaze.”

Right now Victoria’s Secret is a secret I can keep. Let’s see whether it becomes worth sharing.


pve design said...

Longing for something secret, something dainty and something sensual and demure.
Everything now, seems as if one gets a "pimp" or pin-up at purchase.

K.Line said...

Leave it to the English profs to come up with the genius poems! I love "life is rushing by like a mad, swollen river". Thanks for linking to this. K

PS - I didn't know that VS was all about being British and demure in the beginning. I wonder how I missed that (not that I have ever shopped there, to be truthful. They don't really make bras for women with big boobs...)

enc said...

I remember they had a UK return address on the catalogs back then. It wasn't a bad place to shop. Now, it's tawdry, and the sizes . . . well, let's just say they're too big for me. I can't shop there.

riz said...

I am definitely going to read that poem. He came to speak at my college long ago. I can't really wrap my head around poetry like I can prose.

And speaking of VSC and bad taste, did you see comme des garcons this year?? ;)

miss cavendish said...

Hi everyone--Indeed I did see comme des garcons, and was seriously underwhelmed. I don't think that Diana Vreeland's dictum that it's better to have bad taste than no taste applies here--the clothes and styling were horrid.