Victoria’s Secret Designer Collection Spring/Summer 2014

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After a hiatus of several seasons, the Victoria’s Secret “Designer Collection” has returned. The first high-end Designer Collection debuted with much fanfare in January 2012, but since then I’ve heard very little about new collections. In fact, it was beginning to seem like VS had given up on making headway into this market.

My first impression of this new collection is that it’s a lot different from those previous seasons. Looking back, the influences from the Europeean market were obvious, and there were a couple of pieces that would have looked right at home in my own lingerie wardrobe (namely, the long sheer gown and polka dot bra). Though I still think the collection was overpriced, at least I felt like “got” certain elements of it. Now though, the primary influence for the new collection just seems to be more Victoria’s Secret. It’s definitely inline with VS’ brand DNA, but the net result is just less exciting overall. I do like the floral-embroidered sheer black pieces, but everyone knows that sheer black lingerie is my kryptonite, so take that as you will. I do wonder if Victoria’s Secret found out their target customer just wasn’t interested in all the little details that distinguish luxury lingerie, or if VS simply chose to go with less nuanced designs to increase their profit margins.

Taking a broader perspective, it’s interesting to see major players in the lingerie industry scramble to get more market share. Agent Provocateur recently launched their diffusion line, L’Agent, which has done incredibly well for the brand and is now in it’s second season. La Perla has had less success with its own diffusion range, La Perla Studio, but it’s still in production. And I think Damaris’ diffusion line, Mimi Holliday, is more popular than the original brand itself. It has to be obvious to Victoria’s Secret that there’s money in the more high-end customer, and I wonder if L’Agent’s major popularity boom is what motivated Victoria’s Secret to try again with the Designer range. After a period of industry stagnation due to the recession, it seems that the big brands are ready to compete hard again, but are customers really benefiting from more choices with the same handful of names?

Tell me…what do you think of all this industry jockeying? And does anything in the new VS collection stand out to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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26 Comments

  1. Sandy
    29/01/14 at 9:09

    Meh. Nothing against VS…I own a few of their bras and I like them but this collection really doesn’t seem “special”. I read many of your reviews of other brands and this seems to pale in comparison to the delicacy and designs of higher-end and…especially…independent brands. I don’t think I’d make a special effort to purchase these particular items.

    • 29/01/14 at 15:42

      I agree. For about the same amount of money, I could get something really amazing (and likely better made) from an indie designer. So what’s the motivation to purchase this?

    • 31/01/14 at 1:29

      IAWTC. Also, I can only imagine how these pieces feel when you touch them. I hate the feel of cheap lingerie. :/

  2. You know, the reason I really got into the lingerie world is from the lack of choices, comfort and fashion that VS had to offer. It was so mass marketed and although their marketing and advertising served them well, I didn’t feel the special connection with the brand once I was in the store and trying it on. I wasn’t aware, until now (Thanks as always TLA!) that VS had a more high end designer line. A little underwhelmed by the images, I don’t think I could easily put them in the category of “designer” lingerie. Perhaps it’s my preconceived notions holding me back from jumping on board, but I don’t see anything thats breaking down the barriers her for me. Do they carry this line in all stores? Or select stores only?

    • 29/01/14 at 15:41

      Right. I think I felt the same sort of dissatisfaction as well (which is part of why I started TLA). I knew I wanted something special, but VS wasn’t doing it for me, so I started looking elsewhere. I’d also feel reluctant to call this “designer” lingerie without the context of knowing it was Victoria’s Secret’s Designer Collection.

      As far as where it’s stocked, it’s in select stores only and online. I’ve never seen it in Seattle, for example, but it’s definitely in the flagship in New York. No idea where else it’s sold though.

      • Khadijah
        29/01/14 at 17:25

        I’ve seen it being sold at the Victoria’s Secret at the Beverly Center in Beverly Hills. I wouldn’t have even known it was from their designer collection had the tag not been on it.

  3. Lahnna
    29/01/14 at 10:52

    I think VS also took a time out to learn more about that particular customer. They probably spent a period of time analyzing the results of their last few collections, and perhaps learning about the world of high-end lingerie. The standards certainly exist, especially with a company that is always under the gun, like VS. (There was a holiday designer collection that sold well, which I think is why it disappeared so fast) Very few stores carry the designer collection, which means that most of those sales may be coming from online shoppers.

    Much of the VS customer base is looking for soft, neutral colors in smooth, no-show fabrics. This is a price sensitive customer looking to fill a specific need (nude bras under white shirts for work) much of the time.

    • 29/01/14 at 15:39

      That’s a good point, and it makes perfect sense for the brand. I’m glad you brought that up. I don’t remember the Holiday Designer Collection though! Do you have any links to images of that line? I completely missed it.

      I also think your comment about VS’ customer base is looking for is very interesting. I would have thought that the average VS customer was looking for an item a bit more special (as evidenced by Victoria’s Secret’s method of producing the same bra in an endless stream of colorways), but perhaps not? Definitely in agreement about the price sensitivity of the average VS shopper, though.

      • Lahnna
        30/01/14 at 2:42

        I work in one of the company’s larger volume stores, and when I became a sales associate some of my most extensive training came by way of trial-and-error and utilizing my people skills. I was frequently scheduled as a sort of brand ambassador and worked the front few rooms where I got a lot of selling experience. Much of the feedback I received centered on customers looking for pretty, neutral colors in smooth, t-shirt style options, OR basic, but timeless pieces (black lace, red lingerie).

        You are right, VS does attempt to take advantage of trends by utilizing some bold color combinations and patterns (we currently have a lavender chiffon babydoll with vibrant coral trim on the floor). They create some really beautiful pieces, and then they create a lot that totally miss the mark. One of our top bra collections has at least one hue in every color right now, and which ones are flying out the door? Black lace, solid black, solid nude, and some of the limited edition racerback styles (mostly the solid red and black).

        VS customers are women that don’t believe that lingerie can be an accessible part of your wardrobe. They still think a 32DD is gigantic. They “oooh” and “aaah” over pieces, but I find that many of the women I encounter simply lack confidence when it comes to trying something new. My job then becomes more than just measuring her, but really connecting with her to find out what she needs. Sure, she may need a nude demi bra for work, but there is another unconscious need. I see it when the same woman has been shopping the store for hours, looking, touching, thinking. She’s looking for something, and may be a little afraid to let go and experiment.

        I do my best to stay on top of things. I try on new products as soon as they arrive, I frequently check the website for new/future arrivals, and I’m constantly styling outfits together in my head. Quick and confident responses are required in order to thrive in an environment where I’ve got 10 customer requests waiting right behind each other. I remember the first time I cried at work when two older women nearly tore me to shreds because I was out of stock in some lounge wear in the sizing/colors they wanted. It’s a very interesting environment :)

  4. Lahnna
    29/01/14 at 11:18

    I also believe that AP and VS cater to very different clientele. I definitely admire AP and some of their designs, but my current financial situation leaves me unable to partake in what they offer, even with the occasional sale. If I did not work for VS, I would not be able to afford as many of their products as I currently am able. (I also have a slight shopping problem) The beauty of VS as a company really lies in the work they accomplished to gain exposure (and therefore market share). They took off in the mid-90s before anyone else was really advertising lingerie on television, and this is what has given them a leg-up. Accessibility and attainability and long-term planning.

    • 29/01/14 at 15:37

      Hmmmm…I do think the traditional VS and AP ranges cater to different clientele, but I think this new VS Designer Collection and AP’s diffusion range, L’Agent, are going after the same target customer…women who want more luxury lingerie (but too expensive) and perhaps aren’t knowledgeable enough or confident enough to shop elsewhere. So yes and no. The core customers for both brands is pretty different (though they do have that significant level of brand awareness in common…I think of AP as the luxury equivalent of VS), but for these particular ranges, I think they’re trying to reach the same market. And yes, you are absolutely right that VS has dominated with their marketing campaigns. While every other brand was ignoring the internet and acting like PR and advertising were beneath them, Victoria’s Secret really went after that mainstream customer and it paid off in a big way.

      • Lahnna
        30/01/14 at 3:02

        I was looking at the site for L’Agent and it reminded me a little of a luxury edition PINK brand. They touted flirty prints and youthful styles, but with a much higher price point than PINK. VS DC seems to be geared toward a slightly more mature crowd. My POV is quite possibly very skewed due to my living in San Diego as well. We are very much a laid back beach city (especially in comparison to my hometown of Boston). The mall we are situated in is decidedly high fashion (Armani, Burberry, Gucci, and Prada just rolled in last year, etc.) when compared with the rest of San Diego, yet still nowhere near the big boys cities of fashion. Now that I think about it, it’s probably one the weirdest blends I’ve ever encountered. Women who tell me about how their maid didn’t wash their bras correctly, and then wince at the price of a $50 bra.

  5. kate
    29/01/14 at 14:43

    I wasn’t impressed with the quality of VS’ Designer Collection. I’m also not impressed by La Perla Studio nor L’Agent. Although, I must say, the model in the first few photos of the VS collection you posted is gorgeous and is selling those sets to me (but I know better).

    Perhaps this is just me but if I am ready to spend over 100 dollars on a bra or roughly 200-300 for a full set then I might as well go the extra mile, save an extra penny and get the real deal rather than a diffusion line set.

    • 29/01/14 at 15:30

      Are you talking about Barbara Palvin? If so, then yes, she’s amazing!

      But I agree with you. When I’m ready to splurge on expensive lingerie, I really want the entire experience to be special, and that feeling of specialness doesn’t, for me, come from Victoria’s Secret. However, I fully acknowledge that I’m not approaching this whole lingerie question in the same the average woman probably does. After all, a lot of people think of Victoria’s Secret as a splurge.

      • Lahnna
        30/01/14 at 2:09

        Barbara is one of my new favorite angels! Have you seen her Instagram? I would love to hang with her. :)

  6. Hannah
    29/01/14 at 17:24

    When I saw this I really wanted to take a pair of scissors and cut all the bows off. To me they seem like an afterthought, as if the lingerie was not interesting enough, so they added bows.

  7. Evija
    29/01/14 at 19:20

    It’s actually very nice, but I still wouldn’t pay that much for VS. I would have at least expected silk at this price point. And yes, the bows are a tad too excessive. I, too, fail to see the point of this VS endeavour, but seeing that the online version has only one size left for some items.. somebody must have liked it.

  8. 30/01/14 at 2:52

    Since the huge VS opened on Robson St here in Vancouver, lots of my boudoir clients rushed in there because it was something ‘new’ (we are seriously lacking variety here). I believe they use this store as a ‘test market’ because I’ve had quite a few of my clients bring pieces from the designer collection that I haven’t been able to find online. Personally, I find the designer collection to be really hit and miss…some of it still feels like the ‘regular’ VS with a higher price tag. Others are really beautiful, but for a few bucks more, you can get a way better experience at Agent Provocateur (and better quality).

  9. Thursday
    30/01/14 at 3:43

    If you are charging those prices, cough up the dough to put some damn stockings on your models! I find those dangling suspenders offensive. That in and of itself would make me turn away, if I weren’t already disinterested in VS’ offerings. A couple pieces are nice (the lace bustier) but seriously, for those prices I could get something fantastic from an independent.

    • Jenn
      30/01/14 at 18:07

      I agree with you one gazillion percent!!!

    • Rachel
      30/01/14 at 22:04

      I was just thinking that as I was looking at the photos, haha. “Where are all the stockings?!”

  10. Lynn B
    30/01/14 at 19:22

    I recently spent a morning at my favorite lingerie store that specializes in European lingerie, some featuring exquisite handmade lace from France, with similar price points to this luxury VS line. If you don’t know that there is better quality available for similar prices you might think that VS is the place to shop. Like Lahnna, I live in San Diego, I know that Mall, and there is lovely lingerie here outside of VS & Intimacy & mall shopping.

  11. Franne D
    31/01/14 at 8:44

    I’ve been avoiding VS for years now. Their merchandise hasn’t been up to par for a long time. I’m a mature woman, looking for a bit more sophistication in my lingerie and I have found VS to trend very young. Never liked their bra fit either. These pieces are pretty, but knowing how overpriced they already are for the quality they offer, I would rather spend these prices on something of much greater quality. You’ve shown some exquisite pieces that I think I’d feel more confident in purchasing.

  12. Emily
    31/01/14 at 14:10

    While I think the new line of VS is nice and fun, I had no idea it was their high-end line until I read your article! I would not pay the multi-hundred dollar price tags on these items! If I buy from VS, I plan to spend less than when I buy from other brands because the quality never seems more than standard.

  13. Julia
    19/02/14 at 23:35

    I am in the minority, I love the Victoria Secret’s designer collection. While not all pieces are worthy of the label, there are quite a few pieces that are designed to make my man’s and my mouth water. Two pieces in particular are my lace black teddy ( I feel like a Dan De Carlo Pin Up in it) and my lace top night gown with the low booty cleavage back. I am lucky to work down the street from their flagship NYC store and I stalk the place at least once a week for new pieces from the collection. While the 2014 spring collection is underwhelming, I did buy the red bra garter and panty set with the bows. The shade of red is BEAUTIFUL and once paired with my red Cervin stockings… Perfection.

  14. Sasha
    02/06/14 at 14:02

    First, a bit of where I’m coming from. I’m an odd build with steeply sloping shoulders, but am a 32D at 5 foot. Hourglass, but short. The worst combination, in my opinion. Even most of VS just looks like a tube on me, or I have to buy small enough that my boobs and hips are totally squished, just so I have waist again.

    Secondly, I do really like VS. I think their babydolls are gorgeous (not necessarily unique) and I like the colors their bras come in, I really love “Coral Blaze” and their other bright neons for summer with a tan. But I’m 24 and am only JUST beginning to explore real lingerie. With that being said, I think Lahnna is absolutely correct, Victoria’s Secret sells what it does because their market is mostly, from what I can tell, females in between the ages 14-30. And I feel the older of their pool and up is only looking for the basic neutrals. I don’t know anyone who feels true luxury lingerie is suitable for daily wear.

    Also, I think the level of push-up in a bra’s cups seem to be the average Jane’s idea of what lingerie is. That’s something I don’t agree with VS about. They’ve made it about faking how big your breasts are, rather than merely giving breasts a gorgeous frame in which they’re natural and just as beautiful. That all being said, I really do like many of their designs and colors, and for someone who cannot tolerate seams on my body, VS is also a perfect store for that purpose.

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