Thursday 21 June 2018

Victoria's Secret: A new level of sexy, or just the same old Carry On?

Bringing sexy back: The Victoria's Secret store after it opened on Dublin's Grafton Street
Bringing sexy back: The Victoria's Secret store after it opened on Dublin's Grafton Street
Victoria's Secret in Dublin
Go on, go on: Mrs Doyle
Ugg high heels
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The first person I bumped into in the new Victoria's Secret store on Grafton Street was not a 6ft model with sparkling angel wings strapped to her back. It was a middle-aged man in a North Face jacket. He was on his hunkers, rummaging through a drawer of 'cheekini panties'.

It wasn't quite what I had been expecting.

Days earlier, the shop's spokesperson had claimed the Dublin branch of VS would be "taking sexy to a whole new level".

They didn't specify if that level was up or down. Either way, it still managed to pique my interest.

Victoria's Secret in Dublin
Victoria's Secret in Dublin

I wanted to know how many levels of "sexy" there were. And what was the grading system?

Could you jump up a level if you collected enough Super Mario gold coins?

Or, was your sexiness level simply based on whether or not you like wearing thongs?

Oh, please don't let it be about wearing thongs! Anything but thongs.

I suddenly found I had a lot of unanswered questions about underpants.

And so, with hundreds of other wimmin, I made my way to the new three-storey shop on Tuesday morning.

Who knew - it might allow me to re-define myself on the scale of sexiness.

Outside there were people holding placards, and protesting about animal testing.

No one in the queue was too bothered about this. They had other things on their minds - namely new knickers.

The excitement about the store's arrival was attributed to a lot of different things: an upturn in the economy, the availability of boob-boosting Bombshell bras, Christmas, Brexit and the threat of a hard border.

Perhaps, it was just the desire for pants that didn't come from Penneys.

In Ireland, we have a history of imported sexiness failing to find purchase among Irish men and women.

Remember Peter Stringfellow's ill-fated lap dancing club on Parnell Square?

Perhaps now we are now ready for Victoria's Secret.

When the doors opened, everyone rushed inside. The store is half-lit, and everything inside is Barbie pink and black.

All the perfumes come with base notes of simple syrup.

They all have special sexy names like Star Petal, Glitter Kisses, Velvet Petals, Party Kisses, Aqua Kisses, Love Spell, Eau So Sexy, and Pure Seduction.

A lot of the items on sale look highly flammable. Other items seemed to send out mixed messages.

I found a skin-tight onesie that unbuttoned on the arse, and beside it were pairs of fleece-lined house socks.

Was this the new mysterious level of sexy I had heard about?

Having wandered about the three floors and looked at lots of lingerie, I left the store with more questions then answers. Why was it so dark? What sort of person would buy a Victoria's Secret coffee-table book?

And is Victoria's Secret really responsible for a "new level of sexy"? Or does it just peddle an old-fashioned and predictable brand of "oo-er sauciness"?

I think the latter. To me the shop feels a bit Carry On - selling a sort of wide-eyed innuendo that's dated and out of touch.

Having said that, the queues for the tills snaked around the shop floor.

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I think we can all agree on one thing - the sight of a shame-faced man in a North Face jacket foraging through piles of women's underwear is definitely not sexy.

The Wax Factor - hunt is on for next female star

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Go on, go on: Mrs Doyle
 

It's almost 100 years since women secured the right to vote.  This week, the producers of Celebrity Big Brother 2018 announced they would be honouring Emmeline Pankhurst and the Primrose League with an all-female CBB cast.

Shameless? Yes, but all the greatest contestants on CBB have been women (Kim Woodburn, Gemma Collins, Coleen Nolan, and Katie Price).

Closer to home, much-lauded cultural institutions are also making a concerted effort to mark the 100th anniversary.

One such establishment is that bastion of Irish culture - the National Wax Museum Plus.

Museum owner Ed Coleman is determined to introduce a female wax figure next year in order to meet gender quotas. "Only one out of the last five additions to the Wax Museum Plus have been female - and we want to address that imbalance," he says.

There hasn't been an Irish woman added to the collection since 2011 (President Mary McAleese, since you're asking).

"We need women who have made an impact for good or bad," he said.

Ed would like the public to decide who should grace the hallowed halls next. To get the ball rolling I have come up with the following suggestions:

* Linda Martin: arguably one of Ireland's longest serving entertainers. She also very nearly got in a fist fight with Billy from Aslan on the Late Late Show. For that alone, she deserves recognition.

* Miriam O'Callaghan: TV legend and Mother of the Nation.

* Anne Doyle: will always be the Doyenne of the RTÉ newsroom.

* Mrs Doyle: the Wax Museum is extending the Father Ted wing so it makes sense to add her. Go on, go on etc, etc.

* Saoirse Ronan: nominated for an Oscar twice, and looks set to take one home next year.

* Twink: for services above and beyond the call of duty both to Ireland's Pantos, and to our (lesser-known) sugar craft scene. And also for uttering those immortal lines "zip up your mickey". #NeverForget

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