First store for Agent Provocateur
The opening of the first Australian store, in Westfield Sydney, marks the luxury lingerie brand’s 100th standalone worldwide.
Garry Hogarth, CEO of Agent Provocateur told Inside Retail PREMIUM that Australia is the brand’s fourth best performing market behind the US, UK, and Germany.
“That’s one of the ways we think about where we want to open. If we see that demand in a country where we haven’t got a shop, it’s pretty clear we need to get in there. Australians obviously love beautiful lingerie,” Hogarth said.
The new store joins Agent Provocateur’s seven concessions in David Jones stores in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Melbourne. Hogarth says the aim is to grow this number to around 15.
“In the next 12 to 18 months we’re probably looking at doing another six or seven. One might be another David Jones, but they will mostly be standalones.”
The Sydney store is a 93sqm boutique featuring Agent Provocateur’s full collection. The store follows the brand’s trademark design of a luxurious boudoir, with a palette of pink, black, and brass.
Sales girls wear pink house coats designed by British designer, Vivienne Westwood. Around a third of the store is dedicated to fitting rooms, where Hogarth says the selling happens.
“You don’t want to be in somewhere poky where the mirrors aren’t great and the lighting isn’t great, you’re there in your underwear so it has to be done right.”
Sales assistants are trained in each product, and try on each new line so they know how everything fits, for instance, if it fits better on big cups or small cups, so when they see a customer they know what will suit them.
Standalone stores range in size from 50sqm to 200sqm and usually sit between the likes of Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo.
Internationally, a diffusion line, L’Agent by Agent Provocateur, in collaboration with Penelope Cruz and her sister Monica Cruz, has opened its third standalone store in London this week, with another 15 locations to open in 2015.
Hogarth did not rule out L’Agent opening in Australia.
“We’re looking all around the world, so when we’re looking for stores for AP, we’re looking for L’Agent as well. It will be going all over, and in time, over 10 years or so, there’s probably scope to have more L’Agent shops than AP because AP is more rarefied. With L’Agent the price points are lower and it’s a different sort of market – it’s younger, it’s really nice.”
Agent Provocateur doesn’t wholesale and lingerie can only be purchased from its website or through its stores and concessions.
“That’s part of the whole experience with AP, where you come in and get the service and the fitting, because if you’re just selling it at a department store wrapped up with other brands, it’s sort of impersonal and you lose the feeling of it,” said Hogarth.
Agent Provocateur plays a small role in the book 50 Shades of Grey, as Christian Grey’s favourite place to buy lingerie for his girlfriends. Off the back of the book release the brand saw a spike in sales, and is expecting the same of the soon to be released movie.
This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2033. To subscribe, click here.