Victoria’s Secret brings back Adriana, Naomi, Gisele and Candice to introduce ‘The Icon’ collection

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Back in 2018, in what would end up being the final Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (at least, in the form that we knew it), the brand staged a dramatic send-off for Adriana Lima, who was hanging up her wings, so to speak, after almost two decades. It was teary and emotional — and, for the Brazilian model, it did feel like a finale.

“At the time, I thought that was my last walk for Victoria’s Secret,” she tells Fashionista over the phone. “It was very emotional day — not only day, a year, because I knew it was coming. I’ve always been very connected to and always loved the brand. To me, it was beyond a work relationship: I felt like they were part of my family and my life.”

With that walk, Lima flipped the page. “In my head, I had closed the chapter,” she admits. “But maybe deep inside, I thought there was still a small possibility I would go back. Even if it wasn’t for me: My oldest daughter wants to be a model, so I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll come back to watch her.'”

But then, Victoria’s Secret — undergoing a massive rebrand, with a whole new C-Suite and an entirely re-vamped approach to who represents it (and how) — called, again. “I was thrilled,” Lima says. “And I did not think twice.”

In April, she reunited with the brand to launch the new campaign for its Heavenly Eau de Parfum. That was the first of a few projects they’re working on together: The next sees her come together with fellow Victoria’s Secret legends Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen and Candice Swanepoel, as well as faces from the new era — Adut Akech, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Bieber, Sui He and Paloma Elsesser — to introduce The Icon by Victoria’s Secret collection, launching Thursday.

Akech and Elsesser were among the very first members, announced in 2021, of the VS Collective, the brand’s alternative to “Angels.”

“The Icon campaign feels like the perfect compliment to all of the work that Victoria’s Secret has done since the Collective announcement,” Akech shares via e-mail. “The campaign really is an extension of the brand’s mission to empower all women and I’ve loved getting to be a part of such impactful moments in the brand’s journey.”

“The talent featured in the Icon campaign are both dynamic women from the brand’s past and the present, who embody what it means to feel confident and powerful in their own unique way, with distinct and powerful voices, which makes them iconic,” Raul Martinez, Victoria’s Secret’s chief creative director, writes via e-mail.

The Icon campaign also acts as a precursor to what audiences will see on the Victoria’s Secret World Tour, its reimagining of the fashion show that will stream on Prime Video on Sept. 26. Some of the cast are slated to appear in the film.

The centerpiece of The Icon collection is the new Push-Up Demi Bra, which boasts a lifting and shaping technology meant to “enhance the wearer’s natural shape,” according to Janie Schaffer, the brand’s chief design officer. This feature “represents our commitment to championing all women for who they are and what makes them unique.” It also boasts an all-over lace that disappears under clothes, light push-up padding, a smoothing wing and fully adjustable and convertible straps.

This launch emphasizes the wearer’s natural shape — a dramatic, considered departure from the pushed-up-all-the-way, extra-padded look Victoria’s Secret popularized during its heyday (when many of this campaign’s stars worked with the brand.)

“Both the collection and campaign were created to celebrate the shape of you,” Schaffer writes, via e-mail. “The women featured in this campaign are iconic because they are confident in who they are and embrace it — the Icon Push Up Demi-Bra is an extension of that same energy.”

“I’ve shot many campaigns for Victoria’s Secret in different stages of my life,” says Lima. “To be shooting the Icon campaign at this stage is really fulfilling. It’s a very big message.” For her, that message is about “the acceptance of women in every culture, shape, stage of their lives. That’s why I’m here, that’s why I believe Victoria’s Secret called me and that’s why I accepted.”

The look of the campaign — photographed portrait-style by Mikael Jansson against a grey seamless, with some shots in black and white, and styled by Camilla Nickerson with a pared-back approach — furthers this idea, according to Akech: “Every woman brought her own magic to set and helped bring the campaign to life in such a beautiful way,” she shares. “From both the talent, visuals and the collection itself — this campaign is a celebration of what makes every woman iconic: embracing herself.”

The full collection includes panties, slips and robes featuring the brand’s classic logo design, starting at $18.50 for panties, $54.95 for bras and $34.95 for lingerie, with sizes ranging from 32A-44DDD, XS-XXL. The collection officially launches in stores and online on Aug. 10, with those who sign up for the Victoria’s Secret Collective Loyalty Program getting early access on Wednesday.

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