Agent Provocateur has insisted that the shock departure of co-founder and creative driving force Joe Corré will not derail the future of the upmarket lingerie retailer.
Corré, the son of designer Vivienne Westwood and former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, left the board last week, 15 years after founding the label with his then-wife Serena Rees, who quit the business in 2007.
Corré sold a significant slice of his shares in Agent Provocateur to private equity house 3i in 2007, but retained an undisclosed minority stake in the business. He is not expected to offload his remaining holding following his departure.
Agent Provocateur said Corré left the business to pursue other projects, including his directional menswear indie A Child of the Jago in Shoreditch, east London.Corré is credited with giving Agent Provocateur its individual creative direction and strong celebrity cachet. Risqué advertising campaigns have featured stars including models Kate Moss, Daisy Lowe, Peaches Geldof and pop star Kylie Minogue.
Chief executive Garry Hogarth told Drapers that these attributes would be maintained following Corré’s departure.
He said: “Agent Provocateur’s celebrity followers are fans of the brand, not just friends of Joe’s.” He added: “We are still on good terms with Joe.” Agent Provocateur will not replace Corré, whose creative role had been to oversee, rather than to drive, the product design and brand image.
Hogarth said: “Our senior creative designer Sarah Shotton has been with the company for 10 years and has a strong team behind her.”
He added that Agent Provocateur, which has eight stores and three concessions in the UK, was trading well, with like-for-likes and total sales up 4% and 15% respectively year on year.
Market experts also expressed confidence about the future of Agent Provocateur. Brand consultancy Interbrand’s managing director Graham Hales said: “The brand is stronger than any one person and it now needs to focus on its customer, which it has done well in the past.”