Protest at Victoria’s Secret as 500 queue for Dublin opening

‘I love my underwear’: A first look inside the flagship Grafton Street store

About 500 shoppers and a dozen animal rights activists turned out for the opening of Victoria’s Secret on Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday, December 5th. Video footage: Tanya Sweeney

 

Grafton Street is no stranger to glamour, but the queue of young women outside the opening of Victoria’s Secret’s flagship Dublin shop was still a sight to behold.

Given that the first 250 customers through the door enjoyed a discount on their first purchase, there was no shortage of women – and the occasional boyfriend – prepared to queue.

Just before the doors opened at 10am, the queue had swollen to about 500, with several wearing school uniforms.

Protestors outside the new Victoria’s Secret store on Grafton Street Dublin which opened on Tuesday December 5th. Photograph: Tanya Sweeney
Protesters outside the new Victoria’s Secret store on Grafton Street, Dublin, which opened on Tuesday, December 5th. Photograph: Tanya Sweeney

“My mum said it was okay to be here,” says one, aged 15.

According to the brand’s fans, the opening of the Dublin store has been a long time coming.

Emma Kenneally (18) is already a long-standing VS fan.

Harry Styles performs on the runway during the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show In Shanghai on November 20th. Photograph: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret
Harry Styles performs on the runway during the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show In Shanghai on November 20th. Photograph: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret

“I like their sportswear, and their leggings,” she notes.

“It’s really sexy, and empowering. This is all about girls, for girls. It’s not about looking sexy for your man.”

Adds Abbie Bursell (20): “I feel their whole thing is about women feeling good. It shows us that, with their models and shows, putting exercise and health as a priority is important for your life.”

Brief encounter: the new Victoria’s Secret store on Grafton Street
Brief encounter: the new Victoria’s Secret store on Grafton Street

Would they ever want to look like a Victoria’s Secret angel in reality?

“I like McDonalds too much,” says Kenneally.

“I love watching them but I don’t think it’s that realistic to want to look like that.”

Maria Diaz, also 20-year-old, echoes the conceit that Victoria’s Secret is a feel-good brand for women.

The spacious changing rooms at Victoria’s Secret new flagship branch on Grafton Street, Dublin
The spacious changing rooms at Victoria’s Secret new flagship branch on Grafton Street, Dublin

“It’s empowering,” she says. Her friend, Patricia Jimenez (21) says: “It’s lovely quality. I love my underwear.”

Protest

Around a dozen protestors from NARA (National Animal Rights Association) were also in attendance outside the Grafton Street store.

Far from wanting to dampen the bonhomie of the occasion, they were instead hoping to enlighten would-be shoppers on Victoria’s Secret’s alleged testing on animals.

Says NARA’s Anna Fertiuq: “In 2016, Victoria’s Secret opened in China and were required by law to test their cosmetics and perfumes on animals. Millions of dogs and rabbits die in laboratories every year.

“It’s the 21st century, and we don’t need to kill animals,” she adds. “Victoria’s Secret didn’t do it before 2016.”

“It’s dispiriting to see the crowds,” adds Laura Broxson, founder of NARA. “But we’re hoping that if we distribute the information (to shoppers) they will at least consider what they are buying.”

At 10am, the store was opened with the cutting of a huge pink ribbon, against customers’ chants of ‘VS Dublin!’.

Inside, the three-story, 2700 square-metre store bears glamorous art-deco details and onyx black and pink accents.

Among its most eye-catching features is a dramatic staircase surrounded by mirrors and screens showing footage from the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows.

Among the store’s various enclaves, there is Victoria’s Secret PINK – a collection of brans, pants and loungewear inspired by and focused on university-aged women. 

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