Agent Provocateur’s Brand “Spanking” New Direction

by Taylor Harris

The Agent Provocateur woman owns her sexuality. She owns her power. And, in all likelihood, she owns a whip.

“She’s definitely got a naughty streak,” said Agent Provocateur‘s longtime creative director Sarah Shotton at a presentation of the brand’s fall 2019 collection. “Our woman appreciates craftsmanship. She enjoys fantasy. There’s a bit of escapism. She knows how to fulfill her alter ego with lingerie. She’s a boss.”

Agent Provocateur is still catering to that boss lady, a customer who has remained an ardent loyalist even while the company weathered a minor bankruptcy hiccup. Agent Provocateur, or “AP” as Shotton shorthands it, was bought last year by Four Holdings. And under new ownership, comes a new strategy.

The brand’s all female leadership — Shotton, along with managing directors Sandra Mertens-Lustig and Kerry Neill — is focusing on snazzing up their existing stores, looking to new markets, and appealing to a wider audience.

Agent Provocateur creative director Sarah Shotton

“AP really is for everyone. We’ve got E’s, F’s — we have lingerie for women of all shapes and sizes. I think a woman is even more beautiful when she’s got a bit of flesh on her. I think the sexiest bits of the female body is the lumps and bumps,” Shotton says, dispelling the notion that plagues all luxury brands: it’s only made for a size-two customer. “I learned a lot when I was working the dressing room at a lingerie shop when I was younger. I learned so much about just how insecure we all are and I want to make women feel good about themselves, to give them that power. Lingerie can be so powerful. It’s the most important thing you put on every day. It really does affect how you feel. I’ve had two kids and I went through a phase of wearing big, baggy, horrible knickers. But AP totally changes your state of mind. You put them on and you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m ready for this day.’”

For fall days, the label’s provacatrix will have quite an array to choose from. The collection is extensive, from fetish-flirting leather pieces to coy, girly, polka-dotted underthings. Like designer ready-to-wear, each collection is freshly designed every season (as opposed to the simple re-coloring and reissuing that most lingerie brands do). Shotton has fun pushing the boundaries and working with the brand’s highly advanced technical team to explore what’s really possible.  “They’re like, ‘that’s impossible, it won’t work.’ And I’m like, ‘it has to work, we’ll get it to work,’” she laughs.

Agent Provocateur spring 2018

Shotton also likes to push the aesthetic envelope. “You know when a guys comes into a lingerie shop, it’s usually someone wants something a bit hardcore. They usually go for the black, very slick. Whereas women will experiment with color and aren’t afraid of the pretty flourish. I try to mix the two up and I push to the edge,” she says of her design process. “Sometimes even I’ll be like, ‘am I going a bit too far?’ But those are always the things we sell out of the most. Those are the best sellers in every market.”

Agent Provocateur spring 2018

What best sellers will Shotton whip up next? You won’t have to wait too long to find out. The fall collection drops in July.

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2 comments

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Miss Guy May 15, 2018 - 2:51 PM

I really like AP and have always wanted to own some of there pieces because they are so fantastical and sexy but they were never functional. Sadly, my breasts are tiny perky peaks or enhanced fleshy mounts. I need bras that put in overtime and aren’t just for decoration.

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gg May 25, 2018 - 7:20 AM

Re: Miss Guy,

You should go to your local boutique and try some bras on. I have several AP bras that arent padded or push up bras but give me the best cleavage out of any of my bras. And im a 32B so I have small boobs aswell.

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