It's playtime: Agent Provocateur lands in Australia
Agent Provocateur has hit Australian stores, delivering a shot in the arm to the local lingerie market.
Kylie Minogue has ridden a bull for it, it's a feature in Kate Moss’ darkest fantasies, and now kinky British lingerie purveyor Agent Provocateur is coming down under.
Partnering with David Jones, the high-end underwear label is now available in Melbourne and Sydney. Australia is Agent Provocateur’s fourth largest market for online sales, and it is this healthy digital appetite that has driven the brand’s bricks-and-mortar entry into the market.
Founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré (son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren) and his wife at the time, Serena Rees, Agent Provocateur is known for its fetishist campaign imagery, famous fans, very high price points and elaborate boutiques. So embedded in British culture is the Agent Provocateur sales assistant, with her pink robe-like uniform, that Kate Winslet even portrayed one in 2005’s Romance and Cigarettes.
The British brand is known for its kinky edge and celebrity fans, including Kate Moss.
“We have been looking into expanding into Australia for several years and didn’t find the right stand alone property,” Agent Provocateur CEO Garry Hogarth told Fairfax Media. “Australia is a key market for Agent Provocateur and we are very excited to be opening our first boutique here. David Jones is the perfect partner for us and we look forward to a successful collaboration.”
The brand launches in Australia with a party on Tuesday at David Jones Elizabeth Street, Sydney.
According to Tiah Eckhardt, who has modelled for both Agent Provocateur and David Jones and now runs successful lingerie blog The Daily Knicker, lingerie shopping in Australia has traditionally been lacklustre. "I've always been amazed that AP wasn't stocked in Australia,” she told us. “We have a strong dollar but that's not often passed on to retail prices - meaning it's often cheaper to buy things online from overseas, and there’s far more variety.”
“The only way bricks-and-mortar stores are going to lure customers from online is to offer them a shopping 'experience', to draw customers into a whole little world created by them... Agent Provocateur most definitely does this overseas and if they recreate it here, I think they'll do very well."
Eckhardt believes that Agent Provocateur’s image is a departure from Australia’s typical notion of sexy. “We’re more about wearing flip-flops and a bikini rather than pom-pom mules with a riding crop in hand", she said. “I can tell you, girls willing to drop $500 on a set of lingerie exist here.”
Agent Provocateur’s best selling piece in Australia is the £95 ($145) Fifi Bra, online.