(NEW YORK) — Victoria’s Secret sends models down the runway in angel wings and next-to-nothing outfits, but it’s a “Sexy Little Geisha” outfit that has the nation’s most famous lingerie company in hot water.
The Columbus, Ohio, company, famous for its annual televised Fashion Show, has removed its entire “Go East” collection of Asian-inspired lingerie wear from its website after feeling heat from bloggers for the “Sexy Little Geisha” it described on its website as “Your ticket to an exotic adventure.”
The $98 lingerie one-piece featured a “sexy mesh teddy with flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals,” according to its description, which has since been removed, on its website. The outfit also included a removable obi belt with a bow in back and came with a matching fan and hair chopsticks.
The “Go East” collection drew criticism last month for an apparent Photoshop job done on one of its models, and then the “Sexy Little Geisha” number was singled out this month by bloggers who questioned the company’s taste.
“Considering the complicated history of geishas, repurposing the ‘look’ for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless,” wrote Jessica Wakeman on the women’s website Frisky.com.
“It’s the kind of overt racism masked behind claims of inspired fashion and exploring sexual fantasy that makes my skin crawl,” blogger Nina Jacinto wrote on Racalicious.com.
“When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to “Eastern culture” (whatever that means) with hints of red or a fan accessory or floral designs, it reinforces a narrative …,” she wrote. “But when a company takes it one step further by developing a story about how the clothes can offer a sort of escape using explicit sexualized and exploitive language, it takes the whole thing to another level…”
While the product has now disappeared from the Victoria’s Secret website, screen grabs of it have gone viral. Links for both the “Sexy Little Geisha” URL and for the entire “Go East” collection now lead straight to the company’s homepage.
Victoria’s Secret has not made a statement on the line, or its disappearance. A request for comment by the company from ABC News was not returned.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tara Bench, KSL.com
Susie East, CNN
David Goldman, CNN