Victoria's Secret has named its newest Angel just days after fans applauded the brand for featuring her in a more body-positive Instagram post

Barbara PalvinGetty/J.LeeBarbara Palvin walking in Victoria's Secret's 2018 runway show.Getty/J.Lee

  • Victoria's Secret has a new Angel: Hungarian model Barbara Palvin. 
  • Palvin, who walked in the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, was recently featured in one of the brand's Instagram posts, which customers perceived to be more body-inclusive than usual. 
  • According to a research note from Bernstein, this post became the No. 1 of all of Victoria's Secret's 103 posts from the last month, generating 4.2 times the average number of likes and the second-highest number of comments of all posts in that period.

Victoria's Secret named Barbara Palvin its newest Angel just days after fans applauded the brand for featuring her in a more body-positive Instagram post.  

Hungarian model Palvin, who appeared in the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, announced the news to fans on Thursday via Instagram.

"I don't know where to begin but I'll try," she said. "I never thought it would happen and it has exceeded all my expectations. I'm very excited to announce that I'm officially a @victoriassecret ANGEL! Thank you for believing in me."

 

The announcement comes just days after a Victoria's Secret Instagram post featuring Palvin gained attention and was praised by customers for being more body-positive. This could signal that the struggling retailer is beginning to listen to its critics. 

A spokesperson for L Brands declined to offer further commentary. 

While Palvin is not a plus-size model, Instagrammers celebrated the post for being more body-inclusive, as they perceived her to be curvier than some of its other models. 

"This model actually looks healthy..& I'm loving it!" one Instagram user wrote.

"At last! A real human body," another said.

Victoria's SecretInstagram/Victoria's SecretInstagram/Victoria's Secret

A group of Bernstein analysts, led by Jamie Merriman, was quick to point out how successful the post has been. 

Within two days, the post had over 780,000 likes; more than 710,000 of those were added within the first day. It ranked No. 1 of all of Victoria's Secret's 103 posts from the last month, generating 4.2 times the average number of likes, and it earned the second-highest number of comments of all posts in the last month, the analysts wrote in a note on Monday. 

"While this was just one Instagram post, not even Palvin's first for the brand, and not one that actually featured a plus-sized model, it demonstrates that the customer does respond to Victoria's Secret in a positive way, and with well above average levels of engagement, when the brand is perceived to be more inclusive," they said. 

Victoria's Secret has come under scrutiny in recent months and increasingly been accused of losing relevance among shoppers as its hypersexualized ads and racy runway shows have failed to resonate in the era of #MeToo.

Read more: These photos of Victoria's Secret commercials over the years reveal why the store is struggling in the #MeToo era

This came to a head in November after a Vogue interview with Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, went viral online. Razek told the interviewer that he didn't think the company's annual fashion show should feature "transsexuals" because the show was a "fantasy."

"It's a 42-minute entertainment special," he said. "That's what it is."

His comments sparked an outcry online that prompted him to issue a formal apology.

Last month, Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands reported fourth-quarter earnings. Same-store sales at Victoria's Secret were down 3% during the quarter and 3% overall in 2018. L Brands also announced that it would be closing as many as 53 of its stores this year, citing a "decline in performance" as the reasoning. 

At the same time as Victoria's Secret sales are declining, brands better known for advocating body positivity, such as American Eagle's Aerie and ThirdLove (which is becoming increasingly critical of Victoria's Secret), have gained market share.

Despite this, Victoria's Secret still remains the No.1 lingerie retailer in US and has the power - via its large store base and massive social media following - to win back these shoppers.  

"If only they will take it," the Bernstein analysts wrote. 

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