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Agent Provocateur is a British lingerie retailer founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré and Serena Rees.[2] The company has stores in 13 countries.[3]

Agent Provocateur
Private
IndustryApparel
Founded1994; 25 years ago (1994)
FoundersJoseph Corré
Serena Rees
Headquarters,
Key people

Sarah Shotton (Creative director)
Productslingerie, sleepwear, hosiery, swimwear, accessories, outerwear, fragrances
Number of employees
600[1] (2017[1])
Websitehttp://www.agentprovocateur.com/gb_en

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Agent Provocateur's first store, on Broadwick Street Store, Soho, London

1994—2007Edit

In 1994, Agent Provocateur was founded by Joseph Corré, the son of Vivienne Westwood, and his then-wife Serena Rees. The first store opened in Soho on Broadwick Street.[4]

The company sold colourful and fashionable lingerie[5] Joseph Corré was the designer for the brand.[6]

2007—2017Edit

In 2007, after the divorce of Corré and Rees, 3i, a private equity firm that invests in mid-size companies,[7] purchased 80% of the company for £60 million.[2][8]

Between November 2007 and March 2009 the company opened 13 shops expanding to the US, Russia, Dubai and Hong Kong[9]

By March 2008, Agent Provocateur's profits dropped 18% to £2.2 million due to the cost of expansion.[9]

Garry Hogarth stepped down as CEO in February 2016.[10]

In March 2017, the business entered administration.[1] As part of a "pre-pack" deal, it was purchased by Four Holdings, a company one-third owned by British businessman Mike Ashley who reportedly paid around "£25m after seeing off competition from private equity firm Lion Capital."[1]

MarketingEdit

The company is known for its provocative videos. Australian actress Melissa George, English model Chloe Hayward and American model Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann appeared in a John Cameron Mitchell-directed campaign, which urged women to control their own destinies while wearing the company's lingerie.[11]

In December 2001, company produced a controversial short film featuring Kylie Minogue riding a velvet bucking bronco while wearing the company's underwear.[12][13]

In the 2000's, the brand's annual revamp of its website, first by Wax New Media [14] and then Large Design [15], became an industry benchmark.

In 2006, Mike Figgis directed a short film for Agent Provocateur starring model Kate Moss.[16][16]

Other models have included actress Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2007,[17] British model Daisy Lowe in 2008,[18] and model Hailey Clauson in a 2014 ad campaign photographed by Miles Aldridge.[19] In January 2019, the brand hired plus-size model Charli Howard to front their Valentine's Day campaign, entitled "A Love Letter To Myself"[20].

Logo and wordmarkEdit

The original Agent Provocateur logo and wordmark were set from an existing over-the-counter typeface. As Corré’s venture grew, graphic design company House Industries redrew and expanded on the logo. They penned a flowing Spencerian wordmark as well as a racy leg logo for products including tissue paper and fabric monograms.[21]

CriticismEdit

Agent Provocateur had some of its advertisements banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (United Kingdom) for "being degrading to women."[22][23]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Mike Ashley firm buys lingerie firm Agent Provocateur" (Business). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 2 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Leonie (11 January 2008). "G2: Style: Frilly business: We may demand cheap clothes, but we are prepared to splash out a lot more on what lies beneath. Leonie Cooper on the boom in luxury underwear". The Guardian (London).
  3. ^ Traill-Nash, Glynis. "Agent Provocateur set for big bash to mark 100th store opening in Sydney". theaustralian.com.au. The Australian. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  4. ^ Hamilton, Alan (21 June 2007). "Lingerie boss rejects MBE because Blair is morally corrupt". United Kingdom: The Times. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Joe Corré and Serena Rees: Sex and the City". United Kingdom: The Independent. 29 July 2002. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  6. ^ "M&S launches underwear boutiques" (Business). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 23 October 2000. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  7. ^ "3i announces restructuring to cut costs" (Business). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  8. ^ Attwood, Karen (16 November 2007). "Agent Provocateur sold to private equity firm 3i for 60m Pounds" (Business News). United Kingdom: The Independent. ESI Media. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  9. ^ a b Wilson, Amy (23 March 2009). "Agent Provocateur says lingerie sales hold up" (Retail and Consumer). United Kingdom: The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Agent Provocateur lined up for possible sale as boss Garry Hogarth steps down". The Independent. 2016-02-09. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  11. ^ Newbold, Alice (2 September 2013). "Melissa George frolics on catwalk for Agent Provocateur's autumn campaign" (Fashion). United Kingdom: Telegraph. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  12. ^ Wilson, Giles (7 September 2004). "Happy hours with non-stop ads?" (AD BREAKDOWN). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Top 10: Agent Provocateur Models - Number 2". Askmen.com. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Serena Rees explains how Agent Provocateur has found success on the internet". Campaign. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "Agent Provocateur site offers voyeuristic experience". Campaign. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Briggs, Caroline (27 October 2006). "Film-maker Figgis frames London" (Entertainment). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Maggie Gyllenhaal's steamy Agent Provocateur campaign revealed". The Daily Mail. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  18. ^ "Daisy Lowe" (Switch). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  19. ^ Conti, Samantha (22 January 2014). "Agent Provocateur Takes to the Kitchen". WWD. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  20. ^ Glamour. "'You were perfect already - I was just blind to it': Charli Howard's love letter to her body is so damn empowering". Glamour UK. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  21. ^ "House Industries".
  22. ^ Tony Yeshin (25 July 2005). Advertising. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84480-160-2. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  23. ^ Jim Blythe (2006). Principles & Practice of Marketing. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-84480-120-6. Retrieved 22 October 2012.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Agent Provocateur (lingerie) at Wikimedia Commons