As Seen In Evening Standard

As Seen In Evening Standard

It started as a kinky boutique in Soho – now Agent Provocateur is a global mega-brand. Creative director Sarah Shotton talks to Alice-Azania Jarvis about the politics of underwear and why perfection isn’t sexy.


In an interview with Evening Standard, Agent Provocateur Creative Director Sarah Shotton discusses sex, love and Agent Provocateur from the black velvet sofa of our Clerkenwell headquarters.

Recalling memories relatable to the larger busted woman, ‘When I was 15, my mum took me bra shopping. I went to Fenwick in Newcastle, to the underwear section, which at the time was quite matron-like. They went to fit me and I heard the woman going: “Oh, we’ve got another F-cup, she’ll have to wear the Delores in a flesh colour.” This hammock came out, like a boulder-holder. I remember bursting into tears and going: “Oh my God, this is awful.”’ Now she spends her time ‘trying to make women feel good about themselves — because my experience at 15 was like: “Mum, I need to have a breast reduction.”

When Shotton joined the company in 1999, she made it her mission to make women feel good about themselves, it should be said, something she does extremely well. Anyone who has set foot inside an AP boutique will be familiar with the experience: the soft, flattering lighting, the warm, almost conspiratorial attendants, the knowing glances from passers-by as you leave toting a signature pink bag. The whole thing’s designed to deliver a thrill before you’ve even stepped into the bedroom.


‘I love serving people, I just love it. I see women coming into our store who are a bit like: “Oh, there’s nothing for me here.” And you’re like: “No, come on, let’s go and have a look in the drawer.” Then saying: “Why don’t you try this?” Women have burst into tears with me. They’re just like: “Oh my God, I didn’t think I could look like this. I never thought about trying this on.” Then that’s it, they’ve changed.’ She gives a knowing smile. ‘It’s very addictive, AP. It just makes you feel good.’

‘Underwear is the most important thing you put on,’ says Sarah Shotton. ‘It basically sculpts your body. It lifts your breasts up. If I’m not wearing a good-fitting bra, I couldn’t do my job. I couldn’t run, I’d just be uncomfortable, my breasts would hurt.’

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Posted Sep 30, 2016