Agent Provocateur (lingerie)

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Agent Provocateur
Founded1994; 26 years ago (1994)
FoundersJoseph Corré
Serena Rees
Key people

Sarah Shotton (Creative director)
Productslingerie, sleepwear, hosiery, swimwear, accessories, outerwear, fragrances
Number of employees
600[1] (2017[1])

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]



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]


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]


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 wordmark[edit]

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]


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


  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". 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. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  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". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Serena Rees explains how Agent Provocateur has found success on the internet". Campaign. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Agent Provocateur site offers voyeuristic experience". Campaign. Retrieved 21 December 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 21 April 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 26 January 2019.
  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]

Media related to Agent Provocateur (lingerie) at Wikimedia Commons