HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JULY 23:  Victoria's Secret Angels Martha Hunt (L) and Josephine Skriver pose for photographs to promote the launch of Victoria's Secret Hong Kong Flagship Store in Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay, on July 23, 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

Turns out the bad blood between Victoria’s Secret and ThirdLove runs deeper than expected — and the lingerie queen might be feeling threatened as a result.

Victoria’s Secret has filed for trademark rights of the phrase “First Love.”

L Brands, parent company to Victoria’s Secret, did not respond to requests for comment on what the company plans to do with the trademark. But if approved, it would give Victoria’s Secret exclusive rights to the name First Love on beauty products like body creams, lotions, perfume and lip gloss, as well as apparel, including lingerie, loungewear and swimwear.

The term “First Love” first entered in the cultural conversation back in November when the Angels made an appearance in the Big Apple for the annual fashion show.

Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of L Brands, told Vogue magazine at the time, “We’re nobody’s third love. We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.”

The feud continued when ThirdLove cofounder and chief executive officer Heidi Zak took out a full-page ad in The New York Times publicly responding to Razek’s remarks. 

“We are flattered for the mention, but let me be clear: We may not have been a woman’s first love, but we will be her last,” Zak wrote. “ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret.”

Razek’s comments may have been nothing more than a Freudian slip — the first rule in capitalism, after all, is simple: never mention the competition. Because more than anything, it seems strange that a company as big as Victoria’s Secret, one that sold about $7.4 billion worth of lingerie last year, would be threatened by a start-up.

Even so, the two applications filed by Victoria’s Secret with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are dated Oct. 23, 2018 — that’s 17 days before the Nov. 8 fashion show and subsequent Vogue interview.  

Meanwhile, the debate over Victoria’s Secret rages on, as some say the lingerie giant is peddling an outdated version of sexy, one designed for male consumption. ThirdLove is just one of many brands that has been quick to jump on the inclusion bandwagon, embracing all women.

Zak said she was simply acting in self-defense by taking out the ad in The Times.

“I’m not the one that did the interview with Vogue,” Zak said. “We were responding to Ed’s statements. There were a few different digs or jabs at us, at ThirdLove. I felt like it was appropriate to respond.”

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