Agent Provocateur

Agent Provocateur. English brand of underwear, started with the opening of the Agent Provocateur shop in London in December 1994 by Joseph Corre.

Agent Provocateur. English brand of underwear, started with the opening of the Agent Provocateur shop in London in December 1994 by Joseph Corre (1967), the son of the designer Vivienne Westwood, and Serena Rees (1968).

They offer a line of lingerie characterized by eroticism and exhibitionism. Additionally provocation is the leitmotiv of the two designers. Their first publicity campaign used the slogan “The week of fashion is dead, this is the week of passion”.

Agent Provocateur from 2000 to 2010

Opening of the new Los Angeles boutique on Melrose Place.

In 2001 the perfume created by Azzi Picktall and launched on the English market the August before receives the FiFi Award as best new woman’s fragrance.

Additionally in 2001, Agent Provocateur released a 90-second cinematic advert featuring Kylie Minogue, shown around London cinemas and online. The film, in which the pop star erotically rode on a mechanical bull was so raunchy that it was banned from being shown on television. The brand represented a particular wave of feminism where women reclaimed their power through harnessing the symbols previously used to objectify them and laughing in their faces.

In July 2002, after shops on Broadwick Street and Pont Street, a third London boutique opens in Royal Exchange.
On the occasion of the release of the Collection 40 LIC of songs by the Rolling Stones, the lingerie brand launches an underwear and beachwear line with a logo displaying the large tongue created by Andy Warhol for Mick Jagger and his group.

In recent years Agent Provocateur has announced a production and sales collaboration with the Mark & ​​Spencer department stores.

Agent Provocateur celebrated 15 years of success at the London Fashion Week in 2005, held at the Café de Paris on Valentine’s Day. Then the following September, the Company released their first book ‘Exhibitionist,’ a collection of photographs featuring the shop’s most famous window displays. The book launched the start of Agent Provocateur venturing into erotic publishing. Following this in 2006, Agent Provocateur released their first film, ‘The four dreams of Miss X.’

Agent Provocateur
The Exhibitionist Book.

The 3i fund bought the brand in 2007 for around 60 million pounds.

Agent Provocateur
Noami Campbell per Agent Provocateur.

From 2010 to today

The brand, in 2016, chose Fabrizio Malverdi as CEO, after the resignation of the previous CEO, Garry Hogart. Hogart held the position for ten years.

In the same they have the brand launched a capsule collection with Charlotte Olympia, a luxury shoe brand.

Then in March of 2017, the brand was sold to Four Holdings, the Company in which Sports Direct holds a 25 percent stake. The sale resulted in the brand returning to profitability as more collections continued. After a tide period, Beyoncéannounced that she was expecting twins in July 2017; she published a photo while wearing Agent Provocateur bra. After that, the brand started to gain popularity again.

Agent Provocateur
Beyoncé wearing Agent Provocateur.

Additionally among the testimonials of the British brand we can find Caroline Vreeland (2019), the supermodel Bar Rafaeli (2016), Abbey Lee (2016), Paloma Faith (2015), Naomi Campbell (2014) and Paz de la Huert (2011). 

In 2018, Agent Provocateur’s Spring/Summer Campaign reflected a different tact for the label. Lighthearted and playful, it sees Barbara Palvin head to a nudist hotel where she convinces the all-female guests that AP underwear is the way forward. Men barely feature, and gone is that male voyeuristic brand signature that would be problematic in a Time’s Up world. It’s a stark contrast to the label’s overtly erotic, dimly lit campaigns of old.

Agent Provocateur
Barbara Palvin x Agent Provocateur.

For Fall/Winter 2018, Agent Provocateur spotlights the unbeatable confidence it gives to women. The feeling that empowers females everywhere to be fearless in every aspect of their lives. It’s called ‘The Power of Provocateur’. The inimitable Teyana Taylor is the star of the campaign, in the tempting allure of the yellow Anna set from the new season collection.

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Agent Provocateur recently 

In 2019, Agent Provocateur’s Fall/Winter Campaign was inspired by the new hedonism. The feeling that comes with looking after yourself, pushing your body to its limits, and an unapologetic expression kinky, sexiness, and fun. The video is based on a fictional place called Club AP. From vogueing to ballet, the video features a range of dances. It also represents a ritualistic aspect to desire while also giving space for freedom and letting go of all inhibitions. Furthermore an all-woman team produced the campaign. And the creative director, Sarah Shotton.

In 2020, shot by British photographer Charlotte Wales, the campaign explores how the 2020 woman will be remembered, zooming in on the many facets of modern womanhood. Additionally the campaign shows several new faces – all women who defy stereotypes in their style. Professional gamer Jasmine Asia dons her headset and a floral mesh bra, thong, and garter. In her element, motorcyclist Dominika Grnova poses with her Scrambler Ducati while modeling a bold leopard print set. Chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine mixes batter in a satin robe while jazz and rap musician IAMDDB takes center stage in a grey garter embroidered with blue and gold. Lastly, artist, actor, and director Breanna Box shows off an indigo set trimmed with red bows.

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The Italian luxury lifestyle brand created by Ada Masotti in Bologna. La Perla began with handmade lingerie pieces and expanded into beach wear, sleepwear, bags, shoes, and ready-to-wear.


  1. The Origin: Handmade Lingerie
  2. Brand Development
  3. Second Generation
  4. Men’s Prêt-à-Porter
  5. 50th Anniversary
  6. La Perla Purchased 
  7. Current Situation

The Origin: Handmade Lingerie

In 1954 Ada Masotti, a corset maker from Bologna, set up a lingerie production company and named it La Perla. Not having elastic fibers available, she focused on tailoring handmade pieces. During this time, female silhouettes were accentuated in fashion and her creations matched latest fashion trends. Ada Masotti’s motto was “never compromise on quality and innovation”.

Mame Fashion Dictionary Ada Masotti Portrait
Ada Masotti Portrait

The brand DNA is based on Leavers lacework (named after an English loom, of which only 1,200 examples remain in the world), Cornelly embroidery, macramé (embroidery on a fabric which is later destroyed), soutache (an ornamental braid applied by hand usually in fancy pattern); the frastaglio (traditional Florentine flat stitch working). La Perla gained exclusive worldwide rights to the production of the extremely elastic Lycra crépe-de-chine.  

Mame Fashion Dictionary La Perla Leavers Lace
Leavers Lace

Brand Development

During the 60s there was a lot of change and rebellion going on around the world. The hippie movement was taking over the fashion world. Ada Masotti realized the changes and adapted the lingerie. So, La Perla launched more colorful creations including multi-colored floral, plaid and checked patterns.

Through the 70s, La Perla introduced more silk, lace and transparent lightness. Including the creation of the silk jersey triangle bra, which allowed more movement. In 1978, La Perla launched its stretch lace sets, mirroring fashion trends with its clinging dresses and natural flowing lines.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: La Perla 1970 Silk Jersey Triangle Bra
1970 Silk Jersey Triangle Bra

Ada Masotti also created La Perla Maison, a collection featuring a range of garments in pure silk satin with embroidered inserts and frastaglio finishing, a technique that to this day is carried out by hand by the artisans of the La Perla atelier.

Mame Fashion Dictionary La Perla Iconic Frastaglio Lace
Iconic Frastaglio Lace

Second Generation

Starting in the 80s, La Perla started its international expansion under the management of  the second generation, Alberto Masotti, who became president. He is responsible for the company’s huge growth, with more than 20 brands, like La Perla, La Perla Studio, La Perla Ritmo, Malizia, Marvel, Occhiverdi, AnnaClub, Oceano, Aquasuit, Joelle, Grigio Perla (man wear), Grigio sport (man wear) and Baby.

Also, Alberto Masotti’s wife, Olga Masotti, was hired by Ada Masotti as a designer. Through the years the Masotti family redefined lingerie as a clothing accessory.

By 2001 La Perla offered a limited range of women’s clothing and was looking to expand. So, in September 2001 the brand débuted their new underwear and beachwear lines at Milano Moda Donna. To achieve its sales targets, the group created a new styling department and allocated investments in marketing and distribution. Shops were opened in Monaco, Moscow, and Chicago.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: La Perla Underwear
La Perla Underwear

Also during 2001 a new Creative Coordinator was entrusted, Sigurd Steinunn, 35, from Iceland who previously worked with Calvin Klein and Tom Ford. Steinunn was supported by six designers and by Anna Masotti who, after graduating from Dams, was made Fashion Coordinator.

By the end of 2001, the company had a consolidated turnover of €235 million, 48% in the Italian market, 52% abroad. The company had 54 own-brand shops, 38 of which were abroad, and the workforce totaled 1,400 people, plus as many in the associated company. Also, the début of the new boutiques in Japan (Fukuoka), US (Costa Mesa, Chicago) and the web boutique,

Men’s Prêt-à-Porter

In April 2002 Grigioperla Touch is the new men’s prêt-à-porter of La Perla, which made its début at Milano Moda Uomo. Then, in September an alliance was created between technology and fashion, and with Nylstar, a giant in technological innovation in the field of fibers and yarns. In addition to product innovation, the distribution network was further expanded through new own-brand shops, in addition to the 15 in Italy and 24 abroad. After the début in Madrid, La Perla also opened in Soho, New York. Later, in December, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, designer from Naples, became the new Creative Director of the prêt-à-porter lines. The year closed with a turnover of €250 million.

Mame Fashion Dictionary La Perla Men's Collection Grigioperla
La Perla Men’s Collection Grigioperla

50th Anniversary

In November 2004 the company celebrated 50 years of business with an exhibition dedicated to the Bologna painter, Elisabetta Sirani (1638-1665). The choice was dictated by the desire to pay tribute to female creativity. Also, for its 50th anniversary, the brand created a limited edition collection made with Valencienne lace, produced on the ancient mechanic looms of Calais, the most important Leavers lace centre in the world.

In 2007 the brand launched the iconic Cage bustier, worn by Victoria Beckham, for the Spice Girl reunion video “Headlines”.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: La Perla Iconic Cage Bustier
Iconic Cage Bustier

In October 2008, Jeff Hansen, already owned 70% of the company, and acquired the remaining 30% from the Masotti family, becoming the unique owner of the brand. The renovation plans include to concentrate production into a single factory, enhance the style and development of the technical-stylistic laboratories, and return to producing the products La Perla is famous for, underwear and beachwear.

La Perla Purchased

2011 was an important year for the brand with a collaboration with designer Jean Paul Gaultier, and the incursion in the shapewear market. Later, in 2013, La Perla was purchased by Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia and Pacific Global Management. Also, during this year the brand launched a Made to Measure service available at the brand’s most important flagships stores.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: La Perla Made-to-Measure Services
Made-to-Measure Services

Through 2014 strategic changes took place, including a new conceptual store design developed with Italian architect Roberto Baiocchi. Also, a new creative turn headed by French art director Fabien Baron.

Mame Fashion Dictionary La Perla Atelier Collection Paris 2015 Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild
La Perla Atelier Collection Paris 2015 at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild

La Perla showed its first Atelier Collection in Paris 2015, the runway took place at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. The pieces were made by hand and its elaboration took about 14 months, after the show the pieces were displayed at the Brands boutique in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Current Situation

Chairman, Silvio Scaglia and Creative Director, Julia Haart (February 2017)

In 2016 the shoe designer Julia Haart was named Creative Director, and debuted with the Spring/Summer 2017 collection in September 2016 at Milan Fashion week.

Currently, the brand is owned by Pacific Global Management, overseen by Chairman, Silvio Scaglia, and Creative Director Julia Haart. The current muse is Kendall Jenner who appears in all their campaigns. The company continues to live by the founder Ada Masotti’s motto, “Never compromise on quality and innovation”.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Kendall Jenner La Perla 2017 Campaign
Kendall Jenner La Perla 2017 Campaign