With a Pose Here, a Boa There, Tysons Store Tones Down Displays
Friday, October 7, 2005
It wasn't quite a mannequin makeover, but Victoria's Secret, bowing to pressure from mall management and angry moms and dads, made some adjustments yesterday to the window and floor displays in its new store at Tysons Corner Center.
Lifelike female mannequins dressed in rhinestone garters, fishnet stockings and feathery thongs had been posed in suggestive positions when the store opened last week. The displays of tiny underwear caused an uproar among some parents and shoppers, who have planned a protest for this morning.
Despite the changes -- mostly in the positions of the mannequins or, in one case, the addition of a boa draped over a see-through bra -- protest organizers said they weren't stopping plans to gather at the store.
"We will still be there," said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, a Christian conservative group. "We don't know if they are going to do this again. People are very upset about it. And the fact that they would do it once shows they lack judgment and that there is a moral deficit at Victoria's Secret."
The display changes were announced by Kathy Hannon, senior property manager for Tysons Corner Center. "After hearing from our customers Tysons' mall management had extensive communications with senior management at The Limited Brands," Hannon said in a statement. "Victoria's Secret has responded with significant revisions in the placement and positioning of its mannequins, both window and in-store displays."
Anthony Hebron, a spokesman for Limited Brands Inc., the parent company of Victoria's Secret, did not return two phone calls yesterday. He said Wednesday that no changes to the Tysons store were planned. When asked whether a Victoria's Secret store had ever changed a display because of pressure by a landlord, he said: "We've never had that happen before."
The changes seemed more subtle than significant yesterday afternoon. Marie Patterson, 25, of Springfield said the store was "cool, really cool." She said she had been there Wednesday and noted only a few differences in the displays. A teenage girl walked by, looked in the store window and said, "Where's the scandal?"
In one window display, the change involved standing up and turning a mannequin that had been bent over, its thong-clad posterior pointed toward the window. The mannequin now faces the window. Inside the store, one mannequin was removed from a display in which a scantily clad female mannequin crawled toward another, which was leaning back on both hands.
Last week, a 362,000-square-foot expansion opened at Tysons Corner with 24 stores, five restaurants and a 16-screen movie theater. Many of the stores in the new wing target teenagers. Some parents who were at the mall Tuesday said they would not allow their children to go to the mall unless the displays were changed.
When asked what form today's protest would take, Lafferty laughed and said: "We are going to burn our Victoria's Secret bras. Actually, that would have been fun, but I think there would be all kinds of fire code violations."