What Happened to the Victoria’s Secret Designer Collection?

A look from the Victoria’s Secret Designer Collection

About a year ago, the most famous lingerie brand in the world – Victoria’s Secret – launched a brand new, high-end Designer Collection. With prices of up to $300US for a sheer lace merrywidow, The Victoria’s Secret Designer Collection was meant to be an answer to the market’s renewed demand for luxury lingerie. And in fact Victoria’s Secret booted out all the luxury lingerie designers they’d been carrying up to that point to make room…designers like Ell & Cee, Lola Haze, Mimi Holliday, Lascivious, Bordelle, and Yes Master.

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of hype surrounding the new range; WWD even reported a mass sell-out of the first collection. But since then there’s been almost no news on the VS Designer Collections. The F/W 2012 range received comparatively little press, and I haven’t heard anything about a S/S 2013 or F/W 2013 collection for this year.

I did have the opportunity to view a large portion of the Designer Collection during a November trip to Manhattan, and it all looked pretty enough. If I hadn’t been focused on a mission, I may have even tried on a few pieces. But nothing was exceptional. None of the lingerie really ‘spoke’ to me. And, even for the items I liked, I couldn’t help thinking that I could find similar pieces at similar prices (and probably better quality) from independent designers.  Now that everything’s on sale, I may try an item or two. But then again, there is so much gorgeous lingerie out there this season…why use my budget on Victoria’s Secret?

Another look from the Victoria’s Secret Designer Collection

Even a search for “Designer Collection” on the Victoria’s Secret website yields no results. Any pieces left over from last year’s ranges are hidden away in the clearance section…unlinked and unloved (VS isn’t even linking their clearance Designer Collection bras to the matching panties). All signs seem to indicate that Victoria’s Secret has abandoned it’s Designer Collection. That makes me wonder if, after the initial hype from the PR blitz, customers just weren’t interested in purchasing their high-end underthings from Victoria’s Secret. Or perhaps, after years of quality control issues, Victoria’s Secret simply couldn’t meet the more stringent demands of customers who regularly purchase luxury lingerie. Of course, there’s always the possibility the company could simply be regrouping to issue another luxury collection later on this year…but wouldn’t there be at least a little buzz going on if that was the case? I just don’t know.

So…what do you think? Was Victoria’s Secret’s Designer Collection all hype and no substance? Did you purchase any Designer Collection pieces for yourself? Would you be willing to try them now that they’re on clearance? Or should Victoria’s Secret just stick to what it does best?

If you are interested in buying something from the Designer Collection (perhaps before it disappears for good), I’ve linked to a few pieces I like below. Matching knickers and other items can be found separately within the Clearance section of the website.

Unlined Lace Demi. Was $148. Now $79.99.

Embroidered Floral Longline Bra. Was $178. Now $104.99.

Embroidered Dot Quarter Cup Bra. Originally $158. Now $99.99.

Embroidered Floral Lace Teddy. Was $298. Now $99.99.

Unlined Lace Babydoll. Was $378. Now $229.99.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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22 Comments

  1. 14/03/13 at 5:11

    My guess is that VS didn’t have the sales they anticipated – from what I saw of the Designer collection, it wasn’t particularly well made and the prices were beyond excessive (that said, in London the VS mark up is pretty ridiculous) – for that sort of money you’d be better going almost anywhere else for your luxury lingerie.

  2. 14/03/13 at 6:42

    There is nothing that makes this lingerie even EQUAL with similarly priced lingerie. I mean, when it’s matching Mimi Holliday’s regular price when it’s on sale, you know there is a problem. I think that VS failed to realize that their customer and the customer who would comfortably spend $150+ on a bra are two very different people with different needs and expectations. Even for someone who would buy expensive lingerie (like me)– it’s a lot. I could be buying Fleur of England instead of the $229.99 babydoll.

  3. Laura
    14/03/13 at 8:27

    It’s just… not perfect! I’ve drooled over lingerie many times, and this… well, doesn’t make me want to break my piggy bank!

  4. 14/03/13 at 12:57

    It’s very pretty. But I experience the same problem I experience with almost every single other lingerie brand out there: no options for the extra-small bust. I’ve already stated my negative experiences and opinions of VS and how they treat the small-busted woman on other entries so I won’t do it here, but I will say that, for as pretty as it is, it’s not anything special. I probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to pick up one of these pieces even if they did come in my size.

    My other problem is that when I have an extra $200 lying around, I’m probably more likely to buy a new kimono for my ever-growing collection of Japanese textiles than I am to buy a lacey bra!

    • 14/03/13 at 19:27

      What you said about their sizes and other brands! I don’t have to try the items on to know that they probably wouldn’t fit, and it’s probably just not worth the heartache. Too bad — they’re missing out.

      • 16/03/13 at 16:57

        They so are. Meanwhile, we’ll take our custom elsewhere, places where our bodies aren’t considered deformed.

    • Hibiscus
      14/03/13 at 19:34

      And see, I am in agreement on the opposite end of the spectrum—I am a 38D, not overly large, but VS has nothing for me! It’s the brand for 34B push up fans.

      • 14/03/13 at 19:44

        I’m agreed, and that is pretty sad. In the mid-90s I used to buy my bras from there. They were comfortable, supportive, and cute, altogether excellent value. I mean, those bras wore for YEARS and I even washed them in the machine.

        Now I am completely out of their size range, but if I was in their range I still wouldn’t shop there because it has become such poor quality.

      • 15/03/13 at 8:23

        Definitely what you said. Whenever I hear someone say that VS is only for the small-busted, I have to chuckle. If you consider a 34B-32C to be a small bust, then sure. If you wear anything smaller than a 32A band or cup-wise, though…good luck! When you wear something like a 30AA you don’t really consider a 34B to be a small bust!

  5. Bonnie M
    14/03/13 at 13:04

    I’m just too cheap to spend that kind of money on underthings (if they even made my bra size – I don’t fit in the “preferred band size” range) and I suspect their usual customers are too. Besides, if I was the type to spend lots of money on lingerie, it wouldn’t be on some regular place like VS.

    I just can’t see paying over $70 for any bra or over $15 for a panty so while I may gaze longingly at some of the fashionable things out there, I just can’t make myself spend that kind of money.

    Perhaps if I ever win Powerball…

  6. jessie
    14/03/13 at 18:09

    It’s not just that- but the fit is horrible! At least on the models, most of the bras look quite painful. Underwires that go over breast tissue, ect- I imagine it was a lot worse before photoshop, too. I know that’s far from being the only factor, but still…

  7. Dani
    14/03/13 at 18:37

    I’ve read this blog for a while, but this is my first time commenting. I live in NYC and I’ve worked at Victoria’s Secret since college. I FINALLY put in my two weeks notice two days ago after getting a job at Intimacy (which I know you’ve previously written about). I actually noticed the pieces above are still available in the flagship store in Herald Square (if anybody is interested). I’ve seen the pieces for myself in my store (I’ve worked in a smaller boutique store on the Upper West Side for a while) and I can tell that is not what customers are coming into Victoria’s Secret to purchase. Not only are they vastly overpriced, but I’ve actually felt the garments and they seem extremely fragile and as if it would fall apart at the slightest of rough touches. I’m not even the least bit surprised the Designer Collection no longer exists, though. After working at both a big mall store and a small boutique store, it’s readily apparent that many of their customers see Victoria’s Secret AS a luxury. For a lot of people I encounter on a day to day basis, spending $42 on a bra is a splurge for them, and it’s very often a special occasion push up. There are customers who buy their everyday bras at VS as well. Generally speaking though, most customers are there to either buy everyday undergarments or see buying one embellished/lacy push-up as a splurge. And, since VS really promotes a “bombshell” image, many of the girls come in for the extreme push-ups. I get a really depressing amount of girls who think they’re flat (when they really really arent) and are too insecure to ever pick up something sheer or unlined. (For the record, I work really hard to get them in the right size because I ACTUALLY know what I’m doing unlike a lot of my coworkers, and show them that their boobs are not “weird” as MANY of them actually confess thinking to me). I can recall less than 3 or 4 customers I’ve ever met that really know a lot about lingerie, and I find myself encouraging many women’s first foray into garter belts or bustiers or teddies. Furthermore, I think anybody who knows ANYTHING about lingerie would be hesitant to buy “luxury lingerie” from a company that calls anything without push-up padding a “demi” bra, regardless of the actually shape of the cup. Victoria’s Secret is great for what it is, but the “designer” stuff is clearly not at ALL in tune with their actual customer base.

    I really should comment more on here. I actually have a lot of war tales from someone who’s actually been on the sales side of the industry…and I’m sure I’ll have even better stories once I start working at a new company in the same field.

    • 14/03/13 at 20:03

      Please do comment more!

      As someone who’s never worked in a lingerie boutique, I love these kinds of stories. ;-)

  8. 14/03/13 at 19:04

    While some of the pieces were beautiful, nothing really took my breath away! If I were going to spend that kind of money I would want to go to Agent Provocateur or splurge on a corset from What Katie Did.

  9. jenfrreva
    14/03/13 at 19:22

    i’m not too cheap to buy it, i just wont waste my money on something so flimsy. yea, they are beautiful, but will they last in my lifestyle… probably not. it’s just not worth it, and i agree with katrina, what’s the point if it doesn’t even come in my size? most of their excessive, expressive, luxury or shall i say BEAUTIFUL lingerie comes in 34B and up. the models in the photographs probably don’t even wear 34 bands… why they keep acting like that is acceptable is beyond me.

  10. jenfrreva
    14/03/13 at 19:23

    the sheer lace merrywidow is the only one that stood out to me in these photos. very beautiful, and i do not usually like a bodysuit cut.

  11. marie
    14/03/13 at 20:08

    I thought the styles (and the pictures) were more reminiscent of old school Victoria’s Secret (before the neon pink and lime polyester explosion). The quality and construction wasn’t up to par with the price point. I could see where they were trying to go with the collection though.

    Furthermore, the Designer Collection only came in 34B, 34C, 36B, 36C. I remember seeing them in stores and asking a sales assistant to find 32 bands. But she tried to sell me a 34 band.
    One of the advantages of buying from a luxury lingerie brand (independent luxury lingerie too) is that they carry many, many different sizes. If you’re going to spend money on something, you’re going to expect quality and perfect fit. None of this “sister size” nonsense. Mimi Holliday/Damaris, Chantelle, Agent Provocateur, Stella McCartney and so many more upscale brands commonly carry 30 bands and cup sizes greater than DD.

    I think it’s embarrassing for Victoria’s Secret to call themselves the sexiest lingerie brand in the world and the leader of the lingerie industry and totally ignore proper sizes.

  12. Katie
    15/03/13 at 2:18

    What’s truly off-putting here is that all of the pieces of lingerie depicted in these photos are clearly poorly executed ripoffs of Agent Provocateur’s Gardenia from the Soiree range. I frequently spend well upwards of $150 on lingerie, but I will not spend it at VS where the idea of “sexy lingerie” is some tacky, stereotypical black lace with red satin bra and a garter belt worn with no stockings (Seriously. They’re guilty of this quite often.). Just about everyone laughs at me for buying such expensive lingerie, but, if it makes me feel fabulous, it’s doing its job and is worth the money.

  13. Hnnnh
    15/03/13 at 7:40

    My previous commenters have it all in a nutshell.

    VS is a disgrace on the name of lingerie as it is, but that they attempted to dupe the wearer of ‘luxury’ or ‘designer’ (they are distinct) lingerie was plain foolish.

    It is well and good to resemble a designer piece, but if you don’t carry its designer factor, you are selling a 2c piece of plastic masquerading as a few thousand GBP of woven gold lace. Say, you’re a ‘designer’; where is the excellent size range said designer offers? Why are you charging us for the materials you don’t use, and hand crafted labour made by a third-world country machine?

    … and perhaps VS asked itself these questions, answered itself and realised that those of us spending our paycheques on a single luxury bra would rather do so, than have a week of scratchy, petroleum-by-product-with-chicken-wire reproductions for the same.

    If you’ve read this far, you’ll appreciate: Quality, not quantity.

  14. 16/03/13 at 4:35

    The price range is a huge leap from their regular stock. Introducing a new collection is always going to be a challenge but the market they are competing in is filled with creative and good quality designs from established and respected brands. I only have a limited experience of Victorias Secret but to me their brand is fun and frivolous targeting younger women who either don’t have the budget or aren’t interested in spending a huge amount on underwear. It appears that on this occasion VS haven’t understood their customers and have bitten off more than they could chew.

  15. Larry L
    16/03/13 at 14:52

    Upfront I am a male who wears lingerie

    I am old enough to remember VS as it was created Lots of silks good quality pieces that were high for the time but quality

    VS is a good place to buy everyday bras and panties and an ocassional “naughty” piece but no where not as racy as Fredericks

    Take VS for what the marketing team wants you to be sold

    If you work at it you can get quality pieces from nice boutiques like Journelle Nancy Meyer Fraire Frou Frou for about the same price… But you have to be patient and wait for the sales or discounted promos

  16. Kelly
    26/03/13 at 23:25

    You can still buy the designer collection in their flagship stores. I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t online, but I was in Columbus this past weekend and they have several pieces available directly from their designer collection in the new VS flagship store at Easton Town Center. I could fork over $80 for a cute garter, but i don’t know about the matching bra thats over $200….. :(

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