Victoria's Secret The Tour '23 Is Here — but How Does It Stack Up Against the Original Fashion Show?

Victoria's Secret left its iconic fashion show model behind in 2018 after much criticism and upheaval at the brand

<p>Courtesy of Sofia Malamute for Victoria

Courtesy of Sofia Malamute for Victoria's Secret

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is back — but it had a major makeover.

Now branded Victoria's Secret The Tour '23, the streamed event — filmed in Barcelona; Lagos, Nigeria; Bogotá, Colombia; London; and Tokyo — puts a whole new spin on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show we once knew. Though the fashion event looks pretty much nothing like what it once did, you'll still see some of your favorite models doing what they do best, and you'll still feel the essence of the brand as they celebrate a more diverse group of talent.

As for everything else, let's break it down.

Is Victoria's Secret The Tour '23 Live?

Victoria's Secret The Tour '23 was filmed earlier this year in various cities across the world. The VS 20 collective — a group of artists, designers and filmmakers — was selected in Lagos, Nigeria; Bogotá, Colombia; London; and Tokyo. Segments were filmed in each of these places.

While the models had fittings with the designers in these places, the actual show — or what you would think of as the traditional runway show (without a true runway) — was filmed in Barcelona. A group of models wore pieces from each designers collection, but all of the modeling portions were filmed together in Barcelona, along with an interlude that featured Victoria's Secret pieces that you'd expect in a lingerie fashion show.

All of that's to say none of this is live. It was filmed previously and is currently streaming on Prime Video.

Related: Adriana Lima Feels 'Celebrated' by Victoria's Secret After Having a Baby at 41: 'It's Uplifting' (Exclusive)

<p>Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret</p>

Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret

Are There Angel Wings in Victoria's Secret The Tour '23?

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was known for its Angels and their wings. Models like Adriana Lima, Gisele Bündchen and Alessandra Ambrosio were some of the most iconic Angels in VS history. They would strut the runway wearing all manor of wings and apparatus — some small, some huge — as a symbol of their status as the elite of the brand.

When Victoria's Secret ditched the fashion show in 2019, it also ditched the Angels, moving away from using the iconography completely in stores and in marketing campaigns.

Though the brand still toys with the concept of being angelic — like with its Heavenly Eau de Parfum with Lima as its face — the Angels are no more. So are there wings in The Tour?

Actually there are.

U.K.-based lingerie designer Michaela Stark raided Victoria's Secret headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and repurposed some old fashion show pieces into three new looks for the show. Those looks — worn by Jade O'Belle, Ceval Omar and Stark herself — all included wings from years past that the designer fashioned into a modern take on the Angel from the brand's history.

Stark, who often bucks trends, wrote on Instagram that she wanted to "prove that angels can represent ALL women." Stark then took aim at previous comments made by former chief marketing officer at Victoria's Secret, Ed Razek. The former exec caused controversy years ago over his comments about hiring transgender or curvy models for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and later apologized. He stepped down from his post in August 2019.

Related: Emily Ratajkowski Attends Victoria's Secret World Tour in New York in a Matching Black Leather Set

<p>Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret</p>

Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret

What Was the Controversy Surrounding the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show?

Razek's comments in regard to not wanting to hire transgender or curve models for the fashion show were just part of the controversy surrounding the VS Fashion Show and the brand as a whole prior to the rebrand.

In February 2020, Leslie H. Wexner, the longtime chairman and CEO of L Brands, which owns the lingerie giant, stepped down, following scrutiny for his business ties with Jeffrey Epstein.

In August 2019, more than 100 models signed an open petition written to former Victoria's Secret CEO John Mehas by The Model Alliance, which called upon the lingerie giant to protect its models against sexual misconduct. The group wrote another letter to the CEO alleging a "culture of misogyny and abuse" in February 2020. Mehas stepped down in November 2020 and was replaced by Martin Waters.

Thus, Victoria's Secret rebranded, dropping the Angels, focusing more on celebrating women and pushing for more diversity and inclusivity in its marketing, branding and clothing options. It launched two new initiatives: the VS Collective and the Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancer.

The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancer will donate "at least $5 million annually to examine and address racial and gender inequities and unlock new innovations that improve cancer outcomes for all women," a press release stated in 2021.

The VS Collective promised to work with new brand ambassadors — including Priyanka Chopra and Megan Rapinoe — to "create new associate programs, revolutionary product collections, compelling and inspiring content, and rally support for causes vital to women."

Is There Body Diversity in Victoria's Secret The Tour '23?

A complaint against Victoria's Secret and the fashion show years ago was that it didn't feature enough body diversity, but with the rebrand in recent years that focused on advocating for women and celebrating women.

Between the VS Collective, new campaigns that featured more diversity and a clear push for the brand to be more inclusive, it appeared that the lingerie powerhouse was at a turning point where it would truly be a place where shoppers and fans would see more than just one body type modeling the clothes.

So did that happen with The Tour '23?

There was more body diversity featured than ever before in a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, with names like Paloma Elsesser and Candice Huffine among the curve models. While too many brands stick to only having one curve model on a runway at a time, Victoria's Secret at least pushed the envelope enough to have several featured — and they weren't covered up. Their curves were celebrated.

Related: Priyanka Chopra Flashes Her Lingerie Under Sheer Gown at Victoria’s Secret World Tour Event

<p>Courtesy of Sofia Malamute for Victoria's Secret</p>

Courtesy of Sofia Malamute for Victoria's Secret

Is There a Runway Show in Victoria's Secret The Tour '23?

In a traditional sense, no, there's no runway. The models stomp through what looks to be an abandoned building in Barcelona, surrounded by nature (though the Tokyo set of models come running through the streets).

The setting still provides a place for the clothes to be shown off, but it's not a runway like fans have seen in years past.

The models are also not wearing what they have in years past. They're not wearing lingerie from Victoria's Secret. Instead they're wearing designs from the VS 20, which is all handcrafted pieces made by these artists around the world and created to show off their talents.

That being said, there is a break between the cities where the models wear their VS lingerie and expected blinged-out dresses for a bit of a throwback to the old-school fashion shows — complete with Naomi Campbell strutting to Bree Runway's "That Girl."

Related: Naomi Osaka Celebrates Victoria’s Secret World Tour at First Red Carpet Since Welcoming Baby Girl

<p>Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret</p>

Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret

Are Any of the Former Angels in Victoria's Secret The Tour '23?

Yes, a few of the Angels have returned, even if they're no longer Angels. Lily Aldridge, Taylor Hill, Adriana Lima and Candice Swanepoel are all back for The Tour.

You'll also see other familiar faces, including Campbell, Gigi Hadid (who also narrates the show), Hailey Bieber, Emily Ratajkowski, Quannah Chasinghorse, Valentina Sampaio, Julia Fox and Lila Moss.

<p>Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret</p>

Courtesy of Carlijn Jacobs for Victoria's Secret

Is There a Musical Performance in Victoria's Secret The Tour '23?

Doja Cat is the headlining performer in this year's show. While in years past, the performers for the show usually take to the runway while the models parade around them, Doja Cat instead performs alone, making for a completely different vibe.

Goyo, a musician from the house of Bogotá, also performs while wearing one of the looks by designer Melissa Valdes.

Past VS Fashion Show performers have included Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift.

What's the Final Verdict on Victoria's Secret The Tour '23?

When PEOPLE asked Hill at the event celebrating The Tour '23 in New York City during Fashion Week earlier this month how this show compares to shows past, she answered it very simply.

"They are completely not comparable at all, whatsoever," Hill said. "The overall experience has been really different. I think they're both really great, and I'm so happy I get to experience both of them. I'm just really excited to see their new take on the show in this time."

Lima said much the same — that it's virtually impossible to compare the two formats because they're drastically different. Despite being Victoria's Secret at the core, they are two completely different shows.

"The whole experience is different for everybody," Lima told PEOPLE at the NYFW event. "The fashion show itself is going to be a totally different form — not the usual runway as you think. There will be a runway, there will be a walk, but also fashion designers, poets and musicians will be celebrated."

Related: The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Will Be Streamed on Prime Video This Fall

The Tour '23 is pretty much nothing like the old Victoria's Secret Fashion Show — and some viewers are going to like that and some viewers are going to hate that. The brand addressed the diversity issue that so many complained about but also completely changed the essence of the show. While it's commendable to champion women and spotlight creatives from around the world — especially with their handcrafted creations that are so beautifully done — it feels like there's a disconnect to highlight clothes that you aren't actually selling, when that is usually the point of a fashion show.

Highlights come in the form of the models doing what they do best — showing off the wares and having fun while doing so. Hadid's narration throughout is perhaps the best part of the entire show. She brings an element of humor and authenticity to her role as narrator, making it feel like your best friend is sitting in the room with you telling you what's coming next.

Victoria's Secret The Tour '23 is currently streaming on Prime Video. You can also shop some of the looks inspired by the show, including everybody's favorite, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show robe.

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Read the original article on People.