Agent Provocateur Soiree Collection A/W 2014
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Agent Provocatuer's premiere line, the Soiree Collection, is here and it is pretty fabulous. Wondering how a luxury label ups the ante? It's all about the textiles, and the Soiree A/W 2014 collection is straight out of a lingerie addict's hedonistic fantasy.
As most of the silhouettes aren't especially groundbreaking, it would be easy to dismiss the specialness of these pieces. Our columnist Karolina reviewed the richly embellished Ester set from an earlier Soiree collection, and it was only through her descriptions (and detailed photographs) that we get a sense of how rich the textiles are. In this collection we see shimmering stretch leathers, intricate hand beaded silk chiffons, corded laser-cut satins, and delicate French leavers laces.
We talked recently about how the use of lace in lingerie is a major influence in the cost of a garment (AP's 'Adara' bra was mentioned for its exceptional lace placement). It is this use of textiles, coupled with labor intensive sewing techniques, that has elevated the Agent Provocateur experience to heady heights (with the corresponding price tag to match). Take the Samarra set as an example: red foiled leather overlaid with red and blue French leavers lace. The play of textures is used to highlight the construction of the bra (leather along the channel, straps, and band, with the eyelash trim of the lace used to frame the décolletage). It is this savvy design that sets Soiree apart.
There are references to vintage silhouettes throughout the collection. The Ordella set (shown above) utilizes intricate black corded laser-cut satin backed with sheer silk tulle. There is a banded cutaway frame above the padded plunge cups that mirrors the cathedral style bras of the 1950s. The corresponding corset has a wide satin cuff that graphically emphasizes the hips (and reminds me of Dior's New Look evening gown silhouettes from the same decade).
When we saw Agent Provocateur's Soiree S/S 2014 line, we were missing its naughtier side, and I'm pleased there are a few pieces that get back to AP's kinkier roots. While the Marcella set is a definite nod to the bondage trend, the use of shimmering stretch leather and innovative cut outs help it to stand apart from the flood of strappy lingerie on the market. Belt style straps, with jewelry quality hardware, create tantalizing peeks of the skin at the bust. The suspender skirt features these same belts across the hips that are just begging for being unclasped one-by-one in a sensual striptease.
The Akiko playsuit is part jewelry, part kinky adornment, and is a real showstopper. While this could absolutely be worn over a body-conscious outfit, I love the way it shifts and clings around the wearer's curves, making their body the real work of art. Constructed of long strands of multi-colored chains and Swarovski crystals, the harness drapes across the body, hugging the hips and joining in a crystal-studded O-ring at both front and back. Beneath the O-rings are swingy tassels that are so outrageously fun, and deliciously naughty.
The true standouts in the collection are more garments than lingerie. Designed to go "from the boudoir to the armoire", these pieces are so stunning they deserve to be hung on the wall and admired as art. The Mistie slip and kimono are crafted of sheer black chiffon overlaid with opulent velvet flowers in burnished golds and roses. The slip is bias cut with an asymmetrical hem that is edged in a dramatic dip-dyed satin fringe. I'm loving how the long, two-toned fringe flirts around the legs. Wouldn't it be fun to sashay around the house in such fabulousness?!
The Emiko dress looks like it walked off of a Japanese silk screen, with hand embroidered delicate glass beads painting a pastoral scene across pale golden silk chiffon. There are swirls of water, delicate reed plants, and puffs of clouds that skim across the body. A slight cowl in front dips to a daringly plunged cowl back that just barely covers the derrière. A thin strap across the back neck keeps this ethereal gown from slipping off the shoulders. Lined in silk chiffon, it sits just below the bottom.
Other pieces in the collection include the Xiah set of delicate black and silver embroidered lace, designed for maximum décolletage exposure with an unusual open underwire. The Czarinah set is crafted of sparkly, finely sequined turquoise tulle in a three-part cup that is modeled after a 1960s design. And the unusual Zindie halter is crafted of guipure lace with four gold two-way zippers adorned with long chains that create dramatic loops. I'm really liking the use of jewelry within the design (maybe this is a new trend?). Not only does it add a naughty element we so love in Agent Provocateur's designs, but it adds textural interest and movement, heightening the sensual experience.
What do you think of the newest Agent Provocateur's Soiree Collection? Are you able to get a sense of how luxe the fabrics are? Are there any pieces that really speak to you?