We were very privileged recently to be invited to interview Sarah Shotton, the Creative Director of Agent Provocateur. Editor In Chief James Mills sat down with Sarah to chat on Marilyn Monroe, Stylenoir’s ultimate seduction outfit and what Sarah REALLY thinks of in bed… Read On.
SN: Starting from the beginning, when you first started, what did you find the most challenging while working your way up the company?
SS: Everyday was challenging really, because the company moved at such a rate. It was very hands on, you’d be thinking on your feet all the time. I did a fashion degree so I’m self taught when it comes to lingerie, so I just had to learn.
I’ve got a funny story actually, when Joe and Serena got married, I’d only just started and they asked me to take up the hem of Serena mother’s suit. I got machine oil all over the trousers, so I was running around dry cleaners, I finally found a place, but they couldn’t guarantee the oil would come off. So the next day I was like fuck what am I going to say if I’ve ruined the mother of the brides wedding suit? A couple of hours before the wedding, fortunately the oil had come off. I told them the story and they were just rolling around in laughter. That was the most nervous moment, but work wise that’s what they did, they threw me in the deep end and it was either sink or swim.
SN: Do you think this pushed you more with it being so demanding?
SS: Absolutely, I think I was doing things I would have never done in another job. It was normal to work to the early hours of the morning, I didn’t want to let them down so, I just did it. I couldn’t moan about it, so I just had to learn.
SN: What is your favourite part of the design process?
SS: Well I still draw everything by hand so I think my favourite bit is when you get your first samples in and they actually work and look instantly great. If the samples aren’t working we just ditch them, so it is the most exciting.
SN: Where do you get your most daring inspiration from?
SS: I always think of that in bed actually. I learnt to design with a woman and a man in mind, so that really helps me. I really like rubber & am inspired by film, Helmet Newton and people around me. Actually the most kinkiest pieces I do think up in bed, I have a notepad by my bed & just scribble it down. I don’t know, it comes really easy to me, I think people think Sarah will be really kinky but I’m not … honestly!
SN: If you could pick just one woman past or present to be the face of Agent Provocateur who would it be and why?
SS: There are so many great women, it has to be the ultimate of sexy. An obvious one would be Marilyn Monroe, but because I was really into her at a young age. She is partly the reason I’m doing what I am now. I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old and there was a film of her life, I’d just never seen a women like it, I was mesmerised! My mum said what do you want for Christmas and I said I want a book on Marilyn Monroe, and she was like “er.. ok”. So I was always into Marilyn Monroe. She’s really sexy, she had a softness and she was quite aggressive. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have the understanding that I have now. We’ve always referenced people like Betty Page, but I think there is something amazing about Marilyn Monroe. It’s not about a performance like Betty Page, it’s more to do with empowerment, which is what we are about.
SN: I was going to ask why you picked her over Diana Dors, but that obviously explains it!
SS: Actually I love Diana Dors as well, Diana Dors was a tortured soul. She didn’t have that much glamour as Monroe did though. We were looking to do a shoot in Diana Dors’ house, but it has been destroyed, it was really sad, it just rotted away. We were actually really upset. I do really like Jane Russell as well and Jane Mansfield. The bit when the milkman drops his milk because she has such big boobs, thats really funny.
SN: Finally, if you were to produce an outfit for the Stylenoir woman, to help her lure in her prey. What would you design?
SS: Leather and lace but in a vintage way. It would be her ultimate seduction outfit. I would design leather and lace but with an edge, quite 50s, so covered up, a longline bra, using a soft patent leather and a Chantilly lace. It would have a toughness to it, but at the same time a feminine soft side to it. She looks like that type of girl with her pale skin and dark hair… ]
One thing is for certain, not only is Sarah a seriously inspiring character, but we are very excited about the Soiree release early next year. Sarah has promised leather, delicate chains and lingerie for “the dead of night” with a gothic edge. In short, what sounds like the lingerie of our beautiful nightmares. To look at Agent Provocateur’s current pieces, just visit – THE AGENT PROVOCATEUR SITE.