Agent Provocateur (lingerie)

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Agent Provocateur
Industry Apparel
Founded 1994; 24 years ago (1994)
Founders Joseph Corré
Serena Rees
Headquarters London, England, United Kingdom
Key people

Sarah Shotton (Creative director)
Products lingerie, 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]


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. The first store opened in Soho on Broadwick Street.[4]

The company sells colourful and fashionable lingerie[5]

As reported by the BBC Joseph Corré was the designer behind the Agent Provocateur brand.[6]

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

Garry Hogarth stepped down as CEO in February 2016.[7]

In 2007, after Corré's and Rees's divorce, 3i, a private equity firm that invests in mid-size companies,[8] purchased 80% of the company for £60 million.[2][9]

Between November 2007 and March 2009 the company opened 13 shops expanding to the US, Russia, Dubai and Hong Kong[10]

By March 2008, Agent Provocateur's profits dropped 18% to £2.2 million due to the cost of expansion.[10]

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]



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).[11]

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.[12]

In 2006, Mike Figgis directed a short film for Agent Provocateur starring model Kate Moss.[13]


In previous years, these have included Kylie Minogue (2001)[14] and Kate Moss in 2006[13] and 2008. Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal took over for supermodel Kate Moss as the new face for the line in 2007.[15]

In 2008, the British model Daisy Lowe became the face of Agent Provocateur.[16]

In January 2014, model Hailey Clauson was the focus of an ad campaign called “Behind Closed Doors,” which was photographed by Miles Aldridge.[17]

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 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. Corré 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.[18]


Agent Provocateur had some of its advertisements banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (United Kingdom) for "being degrading to women."[19][20]


  1. ^ a b c d e "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. ^ "Agent Provocateur lined up for possible sale as boss Garry Hogarth steps down". The Independent. 2016-02-09. Retrieved 2017-09-15. 
  8. ^ "3i announces restructuring to cut costs" (Business). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  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. ^ a b Briggs, Caroline (27 October 2006). "Film-maker Figgis frames London" (Entertainment). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  14. ^ "Top 10: Agent Provocateur Models - Number 2". Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Maggie Gyllenhaal's steamy Agent Provocateur campaign revealed". The Daily Mail. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Daisy Lowe" (Switch). United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  17. ^ Conti, Samantha (22 January 2014). "Agent Provocateur Takes to the Kitchen". WWD. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "House Industries". 
  19. ^ Tony Yeshin (25 July 2005). Advertising. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84480-160-2. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Jim Blythe (2006). Principles & Practice of Marketing. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-84480-120-6. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 

External link[edit]

Media related to Agent Provocateur (lingerie) at Wikimedia Commons