Sparkly bras and angel wings…the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show this year is still months away. As the date and location are still shrouded in secrecy, 57 beauties have already been confirmed as part of the lineup, with a record number of Chinese faces announced to walk the more-diverse-than-ever runway.
In addition to some veteran western super models, such as Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, so far a total of six angels from the east, for the first time ever, are expected to shine in one of this industry's most-watched shows, according to a full list released by Fashionista.
The gorgeous girls who are making history for the brand are:
This year, Liu will walk in her fifth Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. When she first walked the VS runway, she was the only Asian model ever to do so.
Ming Xi (Xi Mengyao)
Ming Xi has already walked in the past four shows for Victoria's Secret, regularly modeling during the section of the spectacular that showcases the brand's little sister line, PINK.
He Sui is no stranger to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. She has walked in the show six times already, beginning in 2011. When she first stepped on the stage, she was only the second Asian model for the brand, after Liu Wen.
This year will mark Ju's second walk on the Victoria's Secret runway. Before her cooperation with the brand, she has helped other brands break racial barriers, for example, she was the first-ever Chinese model to be the face of Marc Jacobs.
While this will be her premiere walk on the Victoria's Secret show, she's fronted numerous ad campaigns and walked some of the top runways.
Estelle Chen (Chen Yu)
Chen is a French model of Chinese descent born in Paris. The 17-year-old is the only Asian face among the 15 other newly-minted Victoria's Secret models. This newcomer started out in 2013 but has already walked for fashion powerhouses Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab and Fendi.
A more racially inclusive runway
Victoria's Secret has long been criticized for not featuring a more racially diverse lineup of models over the course of the fashion show's 22-year history.
No Asian model has walked the VS runway until 2009, according to Yahoo Style. However, the lingerie giant in recent years has been ramping up its efforts to be inclusive.
An expanding market in China
China's female lingerie market is lucrative with a retail value of 25 billion US dollars in 2017. However, the market is highly fragmented with no major brands leading the way. Currently, a Guangdong-based mass market lingerie brand Cosmo Lady has just a four percent share of the market, revealed Business of Fashion.
As a representative from Victoria's Secret China told Jing Daily, the brand is feeling "very positive about the potential of the China market," as they expect three stores alone, including the one planned in Beijing, are anticipated to generate 150 million US dollars in annual sales for the 7.78 billion US dollar brand.
China is expected to equal, if not exceed the US, in sales in the long term, according to this representative.
Efforts to woo Chinese customers
Considering the first Victoria's Secret model of Asian descent didn't walk in its fashion show until 2009, and the only two and four Chinese models strutting down the catwalk in 2015 and 2016, this time the six Chinese faces could be reflective of the brand's growing focus in the Chinese market.
As a matter of fact, the retailer's presence hasn't started till 2015. Adding to the 26 concept stores in China, which are shops that sold only beauty products and accessories, the company has opened two flagship fully-stocked retail stores in Shanghai and Chengdu in 2017. As the VS China representative suggested, one more store is expected in Beijing later this year.
The brand's additional attempts to woo Chinese consumers are through their dragon-themed outfits throughout its annual fashion show last year.
Although the show's so-called Chinese elements fell flat on China's Internet, with social media users complaining about the "appropriated Chinese culture" and the "ugly bikini outfit", the full video of the show boasted an estimated 162 million viewership compared to last year's 127 million on Tencent video.
From this perspective, the Chinese cultural emblems, for example, the dragon wings, have already prevailed angel wings.