How did the creative team at Agent Provocateur find inspiration for its new Spring-Summer lingerie collection? By watching lots and lots of porn.
Not the depressingly unoriginal raunch that spews from today’s X-rated film factories, but the soft-focus, semi-explicit narrative fantasies that challenged tastes and censorship laws back in the 70s.
AP creative director Sarah Shotton says she and her crew “watched hours of softly glowing scenes” from 70s’s erotic classics like Emmanuelle, Story of O and the films and photobooks of David Hamilton, and thumbed through “vintage” Playboys as well.
The point of all this, AP says, was to reacquaint the label with the sensuality and flirtatious spirit of the 70s and deliver a spring lingerie collection that captures that vibe.
The resulting promotional campaign for the 16 new style ranges features a new face for AP (French actress Mylène Jampanoï) and a lot of languid Hamilton-esque poses of bored model who look like they’re waiting for something to begin — call it a state of suspended anticipation.
It’s all very effective and touches a nostalgic nerve for those of us who grew up with this kind of imagery. It’s not the most original marketing strategy, though: last year, Marlies Dekkers (one of AP’s competitors) delivered the Electric Bilitis style range and matching photo campaign, which wasn’t so much “inspired” by the David Hamilton film of the same name as it was an homage to it.
What’s most noteworthy about AP’s new approach is how dramatically it veers away from the brand’s promotions from recent years — edgy films and photoshoots showing assertive women involved in scenarios about exhibitionism and voyeurism. In-your-face sexuality is out; wistful, dreamy sensuality is back in.
Of course, the “new” Agent Provocateur may be softer around the edges, but its basic erotic appeal hasn’t changed. There’s nothing modest about the new fishnet-and-straps Bubbles range, and there’s no mistaking the hardcore intentions of the plum Brooke range with its satin choker and inviting peephole bra.
And, oddly, while there’s a fair bit of vintage references in the 2012 collection, none of it seems related to the 1970s erotica that inspired the marketing campaign. You’ll find 50s-inspired shapewear, a 60s-inspired babydoll and even a lovely floral print (the Daena range, above) inspired by the Dutch masters of the 1700s — plus lots of the fashion-forward nouveau erotica we expect from AP.
Here’s a look at the new campaign and some of the 2012 styles. Agent Provocateur tends to introduce new styles gradually, so check their website often.