Q&A: Agent Provocateur designer dishes on the brand’s new Rodeo Drive shop

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Agent Provocateur, the British intimates company that spearheaded the trend toward more edgy designs in lingerie, just launched its second L.A. boutique. And, located on sparkling Rodeo Drive, it’s no trifling affair.

The outpost carries the entire Agent Provocateur collection, along with the brand’s new super-high-end Soiree collection. We caught up with the label’s longtime designer, Sarah Shotton, who dished on the new shop, why imitators don’t phase her and what she considers sexy.


All The Rage: Why open two stores in L.A.?

Sarah Shotton: We launched the Soiree collection, our high-end range, and we were getting a customer who wanted a handmade, more embellished look. That started us thinking, ‘Now we need to open stores in more prestigious places.’

We’ll always have the stores where AP began, but we’re also moving into luxury areas. We opened Madison Avenue [in New York] on Sunday night. It was kind of a big step for us; it’s quite a big store. Also on Rodeo, it’s more of a luxury vibe. It’s still got a twist and edge, but it’s much more glamorous.

The Rodeo Drive store is bigger, but what else differentiates it from the existing Melrose Avenue store?

Melrose is full of antique furniture, it’s more individual like the original stores were. Rodeo has this Hollywood glamour thing, with mirrors, lots of black and pink. Melrose is a bit more edgy. We’re trying to keep stores more individual ... not rolling them out so they all look the same. In the Rodeo store, there’s going to be champagne served all the time.

Will there be more of the Soiree line at the Rodeo store?

For Rodeo and Madison it will be more Soiree-heavy. Crystal play suits, embellished corsets. We are going to make one-off items for those stores too — couture items made for shows.

Since the company launched, there’ve been lots of imitators. How do you differentiate the brand now?

We’ve always been ripped off. It doesn’t really worry me. We’re always designing new things. I don’t find it a problem to think up new ideas. I just do what’s right for the brand and what I like and think is sexy.

When you design, do you have a specific wearer or woman in mind?

I have lots of different women in mind. I’ve always got a notepad next to my bed. I’m really inspired by femme fatales and film, pop stars and music.

What is sexy to you?

Sexy is a feeling that you have, it’s a confidence. What’s really great about the underwear is that it makes you feel confident, happy and exicted. There’s nothing sexier than wearing expensive lingerie under your suit to work. I like the idea of being quite covered on the outside but wearing something naughty on the inside. It’s really powerful. It’s not about flashing it all off, it’s about saving it for later.

--Emili Vesilind