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Agent Provocateur A/W 2015: 'All Woman'

Agent Provocateur AW15-6

“I like photographing women who appear to know something of life.” Agent Provocateur's newest campaign, All Woman, takes its cue from legendary photographer Helmut Newton's love of dominant femininity. Through his voyeuristic lens women became larger than life, flaunting their strength and sexuality in a way that was both celebratory and highly erotic. Agent Provocateur imagines women over the decades that have embodied this unapologetic sexuality, choosing four icons with singular styles as design inspiration for its A/W 2015 range.

Sophia Loren's va-va-voom curves in the 1960s inspire designs you have to pour yourself into (think lacy corsets and voluptuous bodysuits). Kim Basinger embodies the 1980s soft focus designs, with wide shouldered teddies and unexpected colorways. The 1990s were all about body-con styles, with Cindy Crawford being the It Girl of the era. High-octane push up bras and zipper-slashed micro-minis celebrate this decade of decadence. Modern bombshells are represented by Lara Stone, with figure hugging dresses and playful, sparkly playsuits.

Considering the collection is heavily inspired by Helmut Newton, I was surprised the styling of the lookbook falls fairly flat. Last Spring's shoot by Ellen von Unwerth was such a standout, doing a wonderful job of reclaiming the cheeky attitude of the brand's early years. Even last Fall's shoot felt like a giant party. This shoot was choreographed within the walls of an Agent Provocateur boutique. While I think they were going for a "behind the silk curtain" sense of fun, to be frank these photographs feel like they were thrown together to meet a deadline. All is not lost, though, as I was delighted to see Agent Provocateur continue to lean in to diversity. It's a common complaint that the brand has historically used Barbie-esque models. Here's hoping that, after their smash success of incorporating the fabulous Naomi Campbell in a shoot, the brand will continue to celebrate women of color.

There's quite a lot to like about the new collection. The Lindie range features barely-there tulle embroidered with large floral motifs. This gives a tattoo effect, with pattern dancing across the body in a really romantic way. The Robyn range includes black stretch silk satin in dramatic silhouettes. Keyhole cutouts are edged with French Leavers lace and come to points at waist and throat. Leisa is crafted in bright citrus silk and black Chantilly lace. The bra from the range is exceptionally pretty, with a padded silk quarter cup with a three-part piped lace overlay. The layered quality of this racy cut adds visual and textural interest. The Mona dress will transform you into a tall drink of water, with navy duchess silk that pours off the body and a dipped back that is piped in sparkling crystals. And the Sherrie playsuit takes the strapping trend to new heights, with silver sequins and bows that tie on the shoulder and bum.

The Willa range is a standout in the collection. On trend in a beautiful shade of midnight blue, the dramatic plunge bra is a new shape for Agent Provocateur. Sheer Italian net tulle forms an inner quarter cup for lift while maintaining transparency. The cups are overlaid with coordinating French Leavers lace that continues up the straps. Maximum décolletage exposure is achieved with cutaways that reveal the apex of the bra. And the 1980s-inspired lacy chiffon teddy is just too fun. The wide shoulders form a bit of a cap sleeve and dive into a V-shape that ends at a high cut leg. The sash belt adds waist definition and is just begging to be untied in the boudoir. This versatile piece could absolutely be worn layered as outerwear with a pencil skirt or skinny jeans.

Pieces start at $170 (and skyrocket to over $1500). As is always the case with Agent Provocateur, the sizing is pretty limited. Bras are available in band sizes 32-36 with cup sizes B-DD. The rest of the range is available in US dress sizes 2-10.

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What do you think of Agent Provocateur's newest collection? Do you think the styling of the lookbook falls flat? Are you excited to see a major brand incorporate diversity?