The secret to Victoria’s Secret’s 84-page Fall Look Book is less skin and more fashion apparel. While this is sure to disappoint fans of the company’s lingerie-clad supermodels, the Columbus, OH-based cataloger/retailer is hoping the book boosts sales of its nonlingerie apparel. Victoria’s Secret mailed the most-recent edition of the mostly fashion apparel book this August to about 5 million customers and prospects.
Introduced in fall 2000, the Look Book is mailed two or three times each season, says Georgia Christensen, vice president of creative and brand services for Victoria’s Secret Direct Media, the direct marketing arm of Victoria’s Secret. “The Look Book’s focus is on clothing, with the objective of communicating the latest trends in apparel and how to achieve the total look,” Christensen says. Since last year, the company has mailed eight issues of the catalog, or roughly 50 million copies.
The design of the Look Book differs from that of Victoria’s Secret’s core catalog. The almost square 7-1/2″ × 8″ trim size is smaller than the standard-size flagship book, and the catalog features 70 pages of apparel before — rather than after — the 14 pages of lingerie in the back. “The Look Book is a specialty catalog for Victoria’s Secret, and we wanted to differentiate it from other Victoria’s Secret catalogs,” as well as from other books in the mail, Christensen says. But like the flagship book, the catalog features a mix of marquee models alongside lesser-known mannequins.
The 2001 Fall Look Book sells dresses, suits, and jeans, as well as shoes, boots, and outerwear. Prices vary as widely as the styles, from $25 for a sleeveless turtleneck to $895 for a shearling coat. While Christensen would not disclose the catalog’s average order size or response rate, she says that both are in line with expectations. “Although we will always be an intimate apparel brand,” Christensen says, “our goal is to continue building the clothing business through direct selling vehicles like the Look Book.”