Thursday, February 28, 2008

The New Hemline Index?

There is an apocryphal belief that women's hemlines can predict the performance of the stock market. The worse the outlook, the lower the hemlines. I suppose there is some basis that a general gloominess can cause more modesty and less lasciviousness. Well, with all of the women wearing pants these days, it's harder to get a good read. Maybe this pullback is the new indicator.
Victoria's Secret Is 'Too Sexy'
February 28, 2008 10:21 a.m.

The chief executive of the Victoria's Secret lingerie chain -- known for its provocative, televised fashion shows and eye-popping stores -- admitted something shocking Thursday morning: The brand has become "too sexy."

"We have so much gotten off our heritage," said Sharen Turney, chief executive of Victoria's Secret, during an analyst call with investors.

"We use the word 'sexy' a lot and have gotten off 'ultra-feminine'," said Ms. Turney, explaining that she wants to bring more-sophisticated, higher-quality products back to Victoria's Secret stores.

But that will be a huge task. Victoria's Secret has shifted drastically from its image in the 1990s, when working women shopped its pastel-painted stores for stylish but practical bras and underwear. Back then, classical music played quietly in the background, while saleswomen discreetly offered help.

Today, Victoria's Secret stores have been remodeled, lacquered black with neon-pink accents. Pounding music pumps through the loudspeakers. The brand has added new merchandise lines that are much less modest than its traditional styles. Malls routinely endure protests from parents who are outraged by the stores' window displays, which often feature suggestively posed mannequins in over-the-top lingerie.

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