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Victoria’s Secret shifts image with new faces for Asia

US lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret has unveiled two new brand ambassadors as it looks to Asia to reverse its struggling fortunes.

The appointment of popular actors Yang Mi and Zhou Dongyu marks a change from using models to represent the firm.

It also appears to be a shift away from the US brand’s overtly sexualised image.

The high-profile partnerships come even as an agreement to take over the company looks to have collapsed.

On Thursday Victoria’s Secret appointed Chinese A-lister Ms Yang as its Asia brand ambassador.

She is one of China’s most successful and highest-paid actors, who has appeared in TV dramas that are hugely popular in Southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan.

Ms Yang suggested that her involvement with the brand was part of a reshaping of its image: “Through a completely new interpretation, I want to make sexiness a natural expression in life, and it to become a more positive and beneficial force.”

Earlier in the week the firm announced that film and TV star Ms Zhou would be the new face of the brand in China.

Legal battle

Ms Zhou is perhaps best-known for her roles in the feature films Under the Hawthorn Tree and Soul Mate as well as the hit teen drama Better Days.

“I define sexiness as being comfortable, nonconformist, and expressing (oneself) in a natural state. It should be we who define sexiness, not we who are defined,” she said in a promotional video.

The announcements come in the same week that a buyout firm which had agreed to take control of Victoria’s Secret said it was pulling out of the deal.

On Wednesday Sycamore Partners said it had walked away from a $525m (£425m) agreement to buy a majority stake in the firm.

It came after the lingerie brand shut down stores and furloughed staff in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

In response, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, L Brands, said it would challenge the move, setting up the first high-profile legal battle in the US over the termination of a merger agreement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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