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Victoria's Secret cans headline show, leaving London's City boys distraught

Mark Shapland
Performers and models on the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on November 8: AFP/Getty Images

City boys were distraught today after Victoria’s Secret cancelled its marquee show this year , with the organisers citing criticism over sexism.

The event, usually in December, has faced dwindling television ratings and rising criticism for objectifying women and lacking diversity.

It was a milestone in the career of many supermodels, including Heidi Klum and Josephine Skriver.

US firm L Brands, which owns the brand, has seen sales hit in recent years by changing attitudes. L Brands share price has fallen more than 60% over the past four years.

Sara Sampaio modelling in the Victoria's Secret Show

In 2014 the event was held in Earls Court, attended by celebrities, musicians and bankers.

Victoria’s Secret has also faced a series of controversies. L Brands’ chief executive, Leslie Wexler, has come under scrutiny for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who killed himself in jail in August after being charged with sex trafficking.

That month also saw the stepping down of Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, who had told Vogue magazine, in a controversial interview in 2018, that the brand would not cast transgender or plus-sized models, “because the show is a fantasy”.

Victoria's Secret Angels pose on the runway during the lingerie giant's 2018 fashion show (EPA)

When his retirement was announced, Victoria’s Secret cast its first transgender model.

Earlier this year another former Victoria’s Secret model, Karlie Kloss, explained that she had stopped working with the brand because “I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.”

She told British Vogue that leaving the brand was "a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist".