Agent Provocateur (lingerie)

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Agent Provocateur
Industry Apparel
Founded 1994; 23 years ago (1994)
Founders Joseph Corré
Serena Rees
Headquarters London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
Garry Hogarth
Sarah Shotton (Creative director)
Products lingerie, sleepwear, hosiery, swimwear, accessories, outerwear, fragrances
Number of employees
600[1] (2017[1])
Parent Four Holdings

Agent Provocateur is a British lingerie retailer founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré and Serena Rees.[2] The company has 100 stores in 13 countries.[3] In 2007, 3i, the private equity firm, purchased 80% of the company for £60 million.[2][4]


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

1994—2007: Early years[edit]

In 1994, Agent Provocateur was founded by Joseph Corré, the son of Vivienne Westwood, and his now ex-wife Serena Rees.[5] The first store was opened in Soho on Broadwick Street.[6]

The company sought to sell colourful and fashionable lingerie though began manufacturing a line of lingerie under the company's name after failing to source via other brands.[7]

As reported by the BBC Joseph Corré was the designer behind the Agent Provocateur brand.[8]

2007—2017: Private equity group 3i purchase and struggle[1][edit]

After Corre's and Rees's divorce in 2007, Agent Provocateur was purchased by the private equity firm 3i for £60 million in November 2007.[9][5][4] Garry Hogarth stepped down as CEO in February 2016.[5][10][11]

Following the takeover, the company expanded into 13 countries with over 60 stores.[5] By March 2008, Agent Provocateur's profits dropped 18% to £2.2 million due to the cost of expansion.[12]

2017—present: administration and acquisition[edit]

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

Products and marketing[edit]

Abbey Clancy wearing Agent Provocateur at Lingerie London, October 2012
Peaches Geldof wearing Agent Provocateur at Lingerie London, October 2012

Current products[edit]


In 2000, the company released their first signature fragrance called Agent Provocateur.[13] Since then, the range has expanded to include more fragrances plus a selection of beauty products and cosmetics.



The company is famous for its provocative videos. Its most recent addition sees Melissa George of Home & Away fame, English model Chloe Hayward and American beauty Elettra Wiedemann all star in the John Cameron Mitchell-directed campaign, which urges women to control their own destinies (while wearing luxury AP lingerie, of course).[14]

In December 2001, company produced a short film that caused controversy due to the film featuring Kylie Minogue riding a velvet bucking bronco wearing the company's underwear.[15]

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


In previous years, these have included Kylie Minogue (2001)[17] and Kate Moss in 2006[16] and 2008. Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal took over for supermodel Kate Moss as the new face for the line in 2007.[18]

In 2008 Daisy Lowe became the face of Agent Provocateur.[19]

In January 2014, model Hailey Clauson is the focus of an ad campaign called “Behind Closed Doors,” which was photographed by Miles Aldridge.[20]

Logo and wordmark[edit]

The original Agent Provocateur logo and wordmark were set from an existing over-the-counter typeface. As Corre’s venture grew from a single storefront in London to a worldwide brand, graphic design company House Industries were given the task of redrawing and expanding on the logo. Corre and Rees wanted something that was different and executed in a way that their competitors could not easily steal but also blended in with the existing logo. House Industries penned a flowing Spencerian wordmark as well as a racy and lacy leg logo for everything from tissue paper to fabric monograms.[21]


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

Current operations[edit]


UK boutiques[edit]

Agent Provocateur has 10 stores located in the United Kingdom.[1]

Continental European boutiques[edit]

North and Central American boutiques[edit]

Middle Eastern boutiques[edit]

Asian and Australian boutiques[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "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". The Australian. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Attwood, Karen (16 November 2007). "Agent Provocateur sold to private equity firm 3i for 60m Pounds" (Business News). United Kingdom: The Independant. ESI Media. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Agent bucks trend in recession". Press Association Ltd. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Hamilton, Alan (21 June 2007). "Lingerie boss rejects MBE because Blair is morally corrupt". United Kingdom: The Times. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "Joe Corré and Serena Rees: Sex and the City". United Kingdom: The Independent. 29 July 2002. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "M&S launches underwear boutiques" (Business). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 23 October 2000. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Agent Provocateur says sales up" (Business). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Santi, Ana (19 December 2008). "Garry Hogarth Interview". Drapers. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Agent Provocateur Rodeo Drive Store Opening Cocktail Party". Getty Images. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Agent Provocateur Fragrances Archived 24 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Newbold, Alice (2 September 2013). "Melissa George frolics on catwalk for Agent Provocateur's autumn campaign" (Fashion). United Kingdom: Telegraph. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  15. ^ Wilson, Giles (7 September 2004). "Happy hours with non-stop ads?" (AD BREAKDOWN). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Briggs, Caroline (27 October 2006). "Film-maker Figgis frames London" (Entertainment). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  17. ^ "Top 10: Agent Provocateur Models - Number 2". Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Retrieved on 21 April 2009
  19. ^ "Daisy Lowe" (Switch). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  20. ^ Conti, Samantha (22 January 2014). "Agent Provocateur Takes to the Kitchen". WWD. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  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 links[edit]