Agent Provocateur
Company typePrivately held company
Founded1994; 30 years ago (1994)
FoundersJoseph Corré
Serena Rees
England, United Kingdom
Key people

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

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 sells colourful and fashionable lingerie[5] Joseph Corré is 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 to prove that their lingerie brand is the most erotic according to the male viewers.[12][13][14]

In the 2000s, the brand's annual revamp of its website, first by Wax New Media[15] and then Large Design,[16] became an industry benchmark.

In 2006, Mike Figgis directed a short film for Agent Provocateur starring model Kate Moss.[17]

Other models have included actress Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2007,[12][18] British model Daisy Lowe in 2008,[19] and model Hailey Clauson in a 2014 ad campaign photographed by Miles Aldridge.[20] In January 2019, the brand hired plus-size model Charli Howard to front their Valentine's Day campaign, entitled "A Love Letter To Myself".[21]

Logo and wordmark

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.[22]


Agent Provocateur had some of its advertisements banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (United Kingdom) for "being degrading to women."[23][24]

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many Western companies curtailed their operations in Russia.[25] According to Agent Provocateur's Russian website[26] there are 10 Agent Provocateur franchise stores still operating in Moscow, leading to claims that the company is helping to finance Russia's war in Europe.[27]

Agent Provocateur said that the stores are "operated by franchisees under franchise/license agreements" according to "a system established by the previous owner of the business, many years ago" and that the company itself "does not 'operate' in Russia."[28]


  1. ^ a b c "Mike Ashley firm buys lingerie firm Agent Provocateur". No. 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". The Times. United Kingdom. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Joe Corré and Serena Rees: Sex and the City". The Independent. United Kingdom. 29 July 2002. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  6. ^ "M&S launches underwear boutiques". No. Business. United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. 23 October 2000. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  7. ^ "3i announces restructuring to cut costs". No. 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". The Independent. No. Business News. United Kingdom. ESI Media. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  9. ^ a b Wilson, Amy (23 March 2009). "Agent Provocateur says lingerie sales hold up". The Telegraph. No. Retail and Consumer. United Kingdom. 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. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  11. ^ Newbold, Alice (2 September 2013). "Melissa George frolics on catwalk for Agent Provocateur's 2012 autumn campaign". The Telegraph. No. Fashion. United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 5 April 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  12. ^ a b Ella Alexander (22 March 2018). "Last year, Agent Provocateur entered administration - this year, its future couldn't look brighter". Harpers Bazaar. Retrieved 26 May 2020. Agent Provocateur's campaigns were among the sexiest in fashion, featuring Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue and Maggie Gyllenhaal all in various states of empowered déshabillé.
  13. ^ Wilson, Giles (7 September 2004). "Happy hours with non-stop ads?". No. AD BREAKDOWN. United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Top 10: Agent Provocateur Models - First black supermodel Shar Michelle to model Campaign Number 2". Archived from the original on 11 November 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Serena Rees explains how Agent Provocateur has found success on the internet". Campaign. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Agent Provocateur site offers voyeuristic experience". Campaign. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  17. ^ Briggs, Caroline (27 October 2006). "Film-maker Figgis frames London". No. Entertainment. United Kingdom: BBC. BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Maggie Gyllenhaal Stars in New Agent Provocateur Campaign". Elle magazine. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2020. Hot on the heels of Kate Moss' starring role in last year's sensational Agent Provocateur campaign (yes the one of Kate in four steamy Mike Figgis films which crashed the AP website!) Today Maggie Gyllenhaal is revelled as the new star of Agent Provocateur's 'The Adventures of Miss A.P' - the lingerie label's sexy new ad campain [sic].
  19. ^ "Daisy Lowe". No. 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. ^ Glamour (26 January 2019). "'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.
  22. ^ "House Industries".
  23. ^ Tony Yeshin (25 July 2005). Advertising. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84480-160-2. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  24. ^ Jim Blythe (2006). Principles & Practice of Marketing. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-84480-120-6. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Over 1,000 Companies Have Curtailed Operations in Russia—But Some Remain". Yale School of Management. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Agent Provocateur's Russian website". Agent Provocateur (Russia). Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Lingerie firm Agent Provocateur under pressure over Moscow franchise stores". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  28. ^ Boffey, Daniel; reporter, Daniel Boffey Chief (13 December 2022). "Lingerie firm Agent Provocateur under pressure over Moscow franchise stores". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 May 2023.