Origins: Agent Provocateur
Who started it?
Agent Provocateur started with a shop in London's Soho run by Joseph Corre and his wife Serena Rees (right) in 1994. Corre is the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.
The label quickly became known for its risque women's lingerie and, in 1997, its influence on fashion was recognised when it was invited to show pieces at London's Victoria & Albert Museum.
Despite having paraded models in lingerie outside a London Fashion Week venue with a banner that read 'More S&M, less M&S!' in 1995, five years later Agent Provocateur accepted a commission by Marks & Spencer to design a line of underwear. Later that year, the label launched its first fragrance.
Last year, the label released its second fragrance and a series of short films directed by Mike Figgis and starring supermodel Kate Moss. This year American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has replaced Moss as the face of the brand. The label now has stores in many cities from New York to Hong Kong.
Agent Provocateur is known for sexy designer lingerie that mixes eroticism with playfulness. Its pieces are colourful and often feature ribbons, lace, satin, tulle and embellishments such as crystals and tassels. There is also a maternity collection. Besides lingerie, the stores carry hosiery, patent leather platform heels and body jewellery.
This year, Corre was awarded an MBE for his contribution to the fashion industry in the Queen's birthday honours list. He rejected the honour in protest over former prime minister Tony Blair's involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Who wears it?
Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera and Carmen Electra.
Where can I buy it?
Agent Provocateur has a store in Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 7658. You can also order online at agentprovocateur.com.