Since being founded in 1994, under the geniuses Joseph Corré (designer Vivienne Westwood’s son) and Serena Rees, Agent Provocateur has been a pioneer for lingerie and become almost synonymous with luxury undergarments. The first store to open was in Broadwick Street in Soho, London, which perhaps explains in part the quintessential British style and humour that runs through the brand. Then married, Corré and Rees set out to make the first-choice stop for fashionable and decadent lingerie aimed to empower women. In 2007 the couple divorced and Agent Provocateur was sold and has since continued to be run by Garry Hogarth. Stores began opening further afield and there are now currently over 70 boutique stores in over 20 countries, where it still remains the number one choice for sumptuous lingerie and nightwear, for a wide clientele, including many celebrities who appreciate the policy for strict confidentiality.
The brand pays great attention to marketing and its projection onto the outside world, and has often caused controversy in the media for advertising campaigns that are deemed too racy and for the choice of supermodels and actresses that face the campaigns. They are always much anticipated by the press and the fashion industry, which as a result has created an air of fantasy and desire around the brand. Former faces of the brand have included Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely and Monica Cruz. Short films have often been made as part of the marketing programmes, shot by celebrated directors and starring well-known figures that seduce and tempt the camera in intimate scenes. Vacant hotel rooms, apartments and are just some of the backdrops to the suggestive photo and video campaigns, which always tell a story and are a blend of sensuality, playfulness and sense of humour. The Agent Provocateur woman is described as confident, witty and gorgeous, traits which all the faces of the brand have in common.
In order to reach a wider audience, a diffusion line, L’Agent, was created as a more accessible alternative to the high-fashion and ultra-luxurious main line. The line was made even more hotly anticipated and desirable by the involvement of the Cruz sisters, Monica and Penelope, whose collaboration with the brand was a perfect pairing.
With every change in the creative and executive team behind Agent Provocateur, there has always been a thread of consistency in the ambition to empower women and encourage them to celebrate and enjoy their own sensuality. It prides itself on the stunning and innovative design and outstanding quality, with the use of deluxe materials such as French lace and silk, of all their products. Feminine, elegant and luxurious lingerie will always be desired, which is why Agent Provocateur has continued to grow and expand since its beginnings. Today, it is much more than a store for luxury lingerie and nightwear; it has become a lifestyle brand selling perfume, beauty products, cosmetics, bedding, luggage and eyewear.
Since 1994, Agent Provocateur has given women sex appeal, not just through the physical but by giving them energy, wit and self-confidence. Wearing one of their designs isn’t meant for display, it’s meant to be the secret that gives you the confidence to be whoever you want to be.