| 9.8°C Belfast

Obama and the A-list allure of Agent Provocateur

Close

Agent Provocateur underwear models

Agent Provocateur underwear models

Nell McAndrew on the catwalk during the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Nell McAndrew on the catwalk during the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Yui Mok/PA

Nell McAndrew on the catwalk during the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Nell McAndrew on the catwalk during the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Yui Mok/PA

Nell McAndrew on the catwalk during the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Nell McAndrew on the catwalk during the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Yui Mok/PA

A model on the catwalk during a Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

A model on the catwalk during a Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Yui Mok/PA

John Smedley's collaboration with leading lingerie label, Agent Provocateur, from £80 (www.johnsmedley.com).

John Smedley's collaboration with leading lingerie label, Agent Provocateur, from £80 (www.johnsmedley.com).

PA

Agent Provocateur lingerie show at the Merchant Hotel

Agent Provocateur lingerie show at the Merchant Hotel

DAVID FITZGERALD

Agent Provocateur lingerie show at the Merchant Hotel

Agent Provocateur lingerie show at the Merchant Hotel

DAVID FITZGERALD

Model Yomiko Chen wearing a stunning denim combo from Agent Provocateur

Model Yomiko Chen wearing a stunning denim combo from Agent Provocateur

UNDEFINED

Agent Provocateur - Kyle Minogue

Agent Provocateur - Kyle Minogue

A Agent Provocateur sign in a street of London.

A Agent Provocateur sign in a street of London.

SHAUN CURRY

Nell McAndrew models at the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Nell McAndrew models at the Agent Provocateur charity fashion show

Chris Jackson

A model presents fashion of the autumn/winter 2008/2009 lingerie collection by Agent Provocateur

A model presents fashion of the autumn/winter 2008/2009 lingerie collection by Agent Provocateur

AXEL SCHMIDT

Two models pose in a boxing ring to present fashion of the autumn/winter 2008/2009 lingerie collection by Agent Provocateur

Two models pose in a boxing ring to present fashion of the autumn/winter 2008/2009 lingerie collection by Agent Provocateur

AXEL SCHMIDT

Model Nadia Colville at the Agent Provocateur 'Private Affair' party/exhibition at the Louise T Boulin Foundation in central London.

Model Nadia Colville at the Agent Provocateur 'Private Affair' party/exhibition at the Louise T Boulin Foundation in central London.

Ian West

An Agent Provocateur projection displayed on Marble Arch in central London, to celebrate the launch of their Spring Summer collection.

An Agent Provocateur projection displayed on Marble Arch in central London, to celebrate the launch of their Spring Summer collection.

Yui Mok

Agent Provocateur at House of Fraser

Agent Provocateur at House of Fraser

Agent Provocateur at House of Fraser

Agent Provocateur at House of Fraser

A model walks the runway at the Agent Provocateur Fall 2006 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

A model walks the runway at the Agent Provocateur Fall 2006 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Vince Bucci

A model walks the runway at the Agent Provocateur Fall 2006 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

A model walks the runway at the Agent Provocateur Fall 2006 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Vince Bucci

Cheeky but fabulous lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur

Cheeky but fabulous lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur

Cheeky but fabulous lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur

Cheeky but fabulous lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur

Agent Provocateur underwear models

The White House has got its knickers in a twist over reports that Michelle Obama went on a shopping spree in Agent Provocateur.

According to PR chiefs there is "absolutely no truth" in the widespread media reports that the First Lady spent some $50,000 on racy briefs in the Madison Avenue branch of the up-market lingerie store.

But nevertheless, there are those who will never look at the president's wife in quite the same way again.

Anyone who knows anything about underwear knows that Agent Provocateur isn't just a bra-and-pants brand -- it's a state of mind, a phenomenon.

It's the sort of underwear that makes Kylie ride a bucking bronco and an indie movie chick like Maggie Gyllenhall pose tied to a chair.

Kate Moss won't wear any other undies other than her favourite APs. She says: "I find it's the most sexy lingerie to wear. I love their attention to detail and I'm a particular fan of a knicker bum detail."

Curvy Kelly Brook is fanatical about the brand, confessing. "I've collected Agent Provocateur lingerie since I was 19."

Beyonce frequently squeezes herself into the line's most titillating bustiers and daring corsets, appearing at the 2009 European Music Awards in an eye-popping scarlet number and most recently showcasing the brand's 'Penelope' basque in her video for 'The Best Thing I Never Had'.

Even Queen Elizabeth is a fan (of sorts) presenting the makers of the saucy ensembles with an MBE in 2007 for "services to the fashion industry." -- though the honour was turned down.

The chain was established by Joseph Corre (son of designer Vivienne Westwood) and his then wife Serena Rees 18 years ago, with the ambition of establishing a lingerie range that would "stimulate, enchant and arouse".

And sex, it seems even in a recession, sells. Last year the company saw a 30pc rise in full-year profit delivering "record profits in a challenging retail environment," according to its chief executive Garry Hogarth.

Its 55 boutiques worldwide are performing well and plans are afoot to open new stores in Miami, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid and Lausanne.

But not in Ireland.

Irish shoppers weren't so turned on to the brand, and the country's only AP concession, based in Brown Thomas, closed in 2010.

When it opened in 2004, it was a different world. Glenda was still with Brian, who watched front row while his model girlfriend strutted in a top hat, leather gloves and see-through pants in a 2005 Agent Provocateur fashion show.

In the throes of the Celtic Tiger, women were happy to throw €300 at a matching set of barely-there bra and knickers. Not so now.

"Agent Provocateur didn't last here because all they sold was high-end luxury," says underwear expert Sinead Sanderson.

"Women still want luxury and they'll still pay for luxury, but they want functionality too".

Sinead's own lingerie boutique Peaches and Cream stocks a mix of mid-range and high-quality items.

She says: "We sell as many bras at €80 as we do at €40, so its not like women aren't treating themselves. They've become much more educated about underwear and value comfort. They know the more expensive a fabric is, the more comfortable it is."

Even in the recession, plenty of women won't compromise on quality for the sake of their bank balance.

Sinead explains: "Women feel they need a good bra like they need their colour done every six weeks. There's also much more of an 'I'm worth it attitude'; women won't compromise on what they feel they need."

She adds: "There's also the realisation now that underwear has a psychological shift. If you're wearing something that feels good, you'll feel good. Pay cheap for a crap bra, and you'll feel crap."

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy