Victoria's Secret on Friday announced that, as of Oct. 11, London-based lingerie brand Bluebella will be sold at some stores and online in the U.S. as well as at some stores in the U.K.
The Bluebella assortment includes bras, panties, lingerie, sleepwear and hosiery, and is being marketed in a fall #loveyourself campaign that the company said in a press release "celebrates the brand's beautiful designs on diverse, empowered women."
The effort is similar to Victoria's Secret tie-up with Parisian lingerie brand Livy unveiled in February.
The latest Victoria's Secret partnership aligns with an announcement at parent L Brands' shareholders meeting last month, when the company said it would rely on third party brands to spur its evolution.
The brand has been losing market share to homegrown companies, including a handful of e-retailers and American Eagle's Aerie brand, which have centered their designs and messaging on comfort, inclusivity and empowerment. With a tired marketing stance that depends on sexualized style and messaging that speaks at least as much to the male gaze as to its customers, Victoria's Secret has suffered in what has emerged since #MeToo as an era of newfound female assertiveness.
But the brand also seems to be attempting to forge a fresh path that mingles sexiness with power, something that could tweak its longstanding brand proposition to thrive in the new day.
"The Bluebella woman does not see lingerie as a functional or traditionally sexy purchase," Bluebella founder Emily Bendell said in a statement. "She sees it as a fashion crossover style and a personal self-indulgence. No-one should leave gorgeous lingerie languishing in the drawer, waiting for that 'special occasion' — our highly wearable fashion-led collection can make every day feel just that little bit more exciting."
But that won't be an easy lift. On Monday Wells Fargo retail analyst Ike Boruchow said that while several specialty apparel retailers seem to be stabilizing, others, including Victoria's Secret, have not.
"[T]he rising tide likely will not lift all boats, as we believe names like [Ralph Lauren], PVH, ULTA, GPS (Old Navy), LB (Victoria's Secret) and TPR (Kate Spade) are all struggling to some extent," he wrote in a client note emailed to Retail Dive.
The brand's trajectory in September, as defined by search data, fell harder than even that of department stores, according to another note from Wedbush analysts. "Deceleration in business at Abercrombie & Fitch brand (US and global) and Victoria's Secret brand show the sharpest declines in the final week of the month," wrote the Wedbush team, led by Jen Redding.