EXCLUSIVE: Agent Provocateur Makes Basic Sexy

Agent Provocateur is laying down the foundation for everyday intimates. 

The British-based lingerie brand, known for its sexy underpinnings, is launching its spring 2021 collection today, called “All Hours,” focusing on bras and underwear that can be worn, fittingly, at all hours of the day. 

“People think Agent Provocateur is just for the bedroom,” Sarah Shotton, creative director of Agent Provocateur, told WWD. “But we have more to offer.”

Michelle Ryan, chief executive officer of Agent Provocateur, added that the intimates firm isn’t getting a complete makeover — it will still offer a variety of suggestive lingerie but rather, the brand is widening its reach with innerwear basics and expanded sizes.  

“We realized that some of our customers were only wearing Agent Provocateur for special occasions. And, we were limiting ourselves because of our sizing,” Ryan said. “At the luxury level, customers were asking for more from us. Sometimes you can’t wear a lace bra under your work clothes. We wanted to offer a range that takes her from breakfast to the boardroom and beyond. We saw the new collection as an opportunity to dress her for every moment of her life.” 

The 60-piece All Hours collection includes five subcollections — the Paige, Lucky, Brigette, Ginah and Leni — each in multiple tops and bottom styles, a mix of padded push-up bras, bralettes, bikini bottoms, thongs, backless panties, garter belts and a bodysuit in a variety of colorways. 

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Heat-bonded fabrics, invisible seams, stretch lace, moulded cups and cushioned hook-and-eye fastenings are just some of the techniques used to sculpt and shape a woman’s body to her liking while remaining comfortable and hiding the unmentionables under her clothes, Shotton said. Most pieces are machine washable and come in cup sizes 32A to 38G for bras and 1 through 7 for underwear, up from previous sizes that only extended to an F cup and 1 through 4 in bottoms.  

“This is totally new for Agent Provocateur,” said Shotton, referring to the brand that was born in London’s Soho in 1994. “When we first launched the brand, we were rebelling against everyday lingerie. The brand was all about flash and showing off [what’s underneath]. But it’s been more than 20 years on since that time and we’re evolving.” 

That evolution is illustrated in Agent Provocateur’s latest campaign. Photographed by Charlotte Wales, it includes models of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, such as Alva Claire, Effy Kaethner, Leila Nda, Nohemi Hermosillo and Chin Chin Hsu. The women are seen in their Agent Provocateur underwear doing everyday things, like walking the dog, grocery shopping or while on the job. 

“As women, we’re on the go all the time,” Shotton said. “We’re celebrating all those situations; we’re celebrating femininity and making all women feel good.”

But don’t call the collection basic. The pieces are still distinctly Agent Provocateur, with high-cut leg lines, plunging necklines, a combination of sheer and shiny fabrics (including leopard prints) and lots of lace. 

“You can buy everyday lingerie [from other brands], but a lot out there makes you feel frumpy. Or, the knickers don’t match the bra,” Shotton explained. “We wanted to create some basics that can make you look great, because if you can wear really good lingerie it can have a good effect on your mood. With Agent Provocateur, we’re able to be hyper real and offer a little escapism. It’s sexy, but there’s also comfort.”

The All Hours collection, which ranges in price from 75 pounds, or around $100, to $340, can be found in Agent Provocateur stores and at agentprovocateur.com. Select Agent Provocateur pieces are also available at Net-a-porter, Zalando, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus and Harrods in London. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the majority of the firm’s business has shifted from its own stores to its e-commerce business, with wholesale representing an even smaller portion of revenues. But in the future, the company plans to chase more wholesale opportunities, Ryan said. 

“That’s another opportunity for us to expand to other women who may not shop with us right now,” she said.

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