Review: Agent Provocateur 'Birthday Suit' Playsuit And Babydoll
Disclosure: I purchased this lingerie with my own money. Agent Provocateur is not affiliated with this review.
When I first discovered lingerie, Agent Provocateur offered me an exciting and boundary-pushing new world of underthings. Although I still utterly adore many of their past designs, recent collections have felt a little flat in comparison. Older styles like ‘Maschina’ and ‘Marilyn’ are pretty much staples in my lingerie wardrobe but there’s been very little in their latest releases that I’ve felt strongly enough about to add to my collection. Recent purchases like ‘Demelza’ have fallen a little flat with itchy fabrics and poor construction.
Nevertheless, I’d always adored their Classic design ‘Birthday Suit.’ A throwback to Agent Provocateur’s earlier days, when this design was discontinued earlier in the year I simply had to pounce on it in the sale.
I ordered the ‘Birthday Suit’ playsuit (one sized) and the babydoll (in size ‘2’ or S/M). I paid £60 for the playsuit and £50 for the babydoll, though I believe the original retail price was around £185 and £315 respectively. The playsuit was only available as one-size but I would estimate its range as roughly a UK 8-12. The babydoll is fairly free-fitting but also had a M/L option. The ‘Birthday Suit’ range originally also contained an ouvert knicker, thong, quarter cup bra and suspender. None of these styles are currently available through Agent Provocateur, but you may still find them in many sizes on Ebay.
Both pieces are created from bright red silk: the playsuit from a silk satin and the babydoll from a silk chiffon with satin trims. The playsuit is constructed almost entirely from elastic covered in ruched satin, framing the body and attaching to a silk satin thong-style knicker. The straps all attach at the centre of the body to a gold-toned ring and the ‘choker’ strap closes at the back of the neck with a gold snap clasp. Oversized silk bows are found on both sides of the knicker, the neck and the back of the thong. The knicker part of the playsuit is constructed of a single layer of silk satin with a cotton gusset liner and plush elastic along the waist and leg edges. The construction is secure and very neat: all of the elastic edges are bar tacked without any excess fabric poking out of the edges of the straps. My only real criticism is of the clasp used at the back of the neck: there are a couple of rubber squares on the underside of the studs to help secure the clasp in place when worn, but one of these fell off very quickly. This does mean that the clasp doesn’t ‘click’ into place quite as it should but I haven’t experienced any issues with it coming undone during wear.
The babydoll contains a wonderfully extravagant amount of fabric: the silk chiffon is cut in a circle style, giving it a delightfully voluminous finish. The neck edge is delicately bound in silk satin, leading up to silk satin shoulder straps finished with oversized bows. The construction on this babydoll is somewhat of a triumph: the rolled hem and narrow binding are neatly and accurately stitched. There’s an awful lot of fabric in the body of this piece but there are only two seams: although this would technically save on stitching work, this represents a great expense in fabric, particularly due to the level of waste incurred by large fabric pieces. These seams are also stitched in the expensive ‘French seam’ technique, where all the raw edges are enclosed inside the seam. The shoulder straps are also impressively constructed: they are lined with silk satin, bagged out around the silk chiffon so all raw edges are enclosed. The only visible stitching on these straps is where the bows have been applied.
Interestingly, the playsuit was made in China whilst the babydoll has been made in Romania. This is perhaps reflected in their very different approaches to construction: the playsuit feels a lot more industrialised, using many standard lingerie construction techniques. The babydoll meanwhile is much more delicately sewn, with careful consideration gone into its construction.
As is near inevitable with a one-size-fits-most piece, there are a few fit issues with the playsuit. I’m on the upper limit of its size range, given that I normally wear a size UK 12. The waist and neck straps fit just fine and have an appropriate amount of stretch but the hip straps come up a tiny bit tight on my body. I didn’t find this to be a major issue as I still love the aesthetic and can forgive them cutting in slightly.
As for the babydoll, there’s not all that much that I can comment on the fit given that it’s such a flexibly fitting piece: I would say this would work on most body shapes. The comment I do want to make about this piece, though, is that it’s utterly and infectiously fun. The chiffon is delightfully light and floaty, and all of that fabric volume makes it perfect for twirling and swishing.
Even with the slight fit issues on the playsuit, I’m utterly in love with this set. The playsuit is unashamedly naughty and sexy but works so well with the relatively demure babydoll. I adore how the slight sheerness of the chiffon allows peeks of the strappy detail underneath. As tired out as the bondage-strapping trend is, this is a wonderful luxe-silk-encased take on it. Even as an older Agent Provocateur design, it still feels fresh and exciting to me. I’m so glad that I managed to grab this in the sale when I did, as it’s fast become one of my favourite boudoir sets.
Readers: What do you think of the ‘Birthday Suit’ set? How do you feel about Agent Provocateur’s recent designs?