British fashion lingerie label Agent Provocateur plans to double in size to almost 100 stores in the next three years under ambitious proposals drawn up by Kim Winser. Winser, the former CEO of Pringle and Aquascutum, is the new chairwoman of the lingerie retailer. Winser said high-class underwear was due a surge in growth, after a boom in sales of handbags and shoes over the past five years. “There is huge potential growth in the lingerie market. It can make a big difference to how you feel. Knowing that you have great lingerie on does things for a girl — and her relationships.”

Agent Provocateur currently has 47 outlets and plans to add 13 this year through a mixture of franchises and wholly owned shops. During the last financial year it opened new stores in Qatar, Moscow, Switzerland, Slovenia and South Korea. Related Links

The retailer operates 12 shops in the UK but hopes to double the size of its concession within the Selfridges department store on London’s Oxford Street and expand the space it has at Harrods in Knightsbridge.

Winser previously transformed Pringle from a traditional knitwear brand popular with golfers to high fashion that appeared on the catwalks of Milan. She later joined Aquascutum, but left last year after plans for a management buyout failed.

The Agent Provocateur philosophy is the belief to ndulge passion and intimacy, and that exploring your inner desires and fantasies profoundly enriches your life, be it wearing upmarket lingerie.

The company was founded by Joseph Corré, the son of Vivienne Westwood, and his now ex-wife Serena Rees in 1994. The first store was opened in Soho with aims of selling high-end lingerie. Rees, tired of seeing women dress in drab under garments, came up with an idea to start a lingerie store that was filled with colorful and fashion forward lingerie. The couple initially set out to sell the best lingerie from around the world. After not finding enough of what they liked, the couple decided to create their own brand.

Rees along with Corre, developed a strict confidentiality agreement to protect their clientele. The brand since its inception has been widely received by the celebrity community as a result use celebrity models for most of their advertising campaigns.

After Corre’s and Ree’s divorce in 2007, Agent Provocateur was purchased by the private equity house 3i for £60m.

Image: AP Nadeen Body