“The kids that live in this house, or their friends that come through it, have such a different view to previous generations on how to dress, how to behave, how to hang out with friends and lovers and in their attitudes toward sex and sexuality,” she said. “I looked at what the market was currently offering them, and it felt like there was a big disconnect. Victoria’s Secret and Agent Provocateur are just not relevant to them anymore.”
The result is a new label called Les Girls Les Boys, which is set to be introduced Sept. 1. The 100-piece collection will be a gender-fluid array of intimates, underwear and street wear, designed to be worn by men and women. It promises to take its millennial wearers from “bed to street,” in keeping with their boundary-blurred lifestyles and a more informal approach to clothes than the generations before them.
In recent years a decisive pivot away from the sex-doll look in favor of a unisex aesthetic has been on full display across the ready-to-wear runways. It’s a positive movement, Ms. Rees said, one that is also a clear sign of and reaction to the times.
“The last decade has seen the rise of totally unobtainable and hypersexualized body images, particularly for women, fueled by the era of internet, social media and plastic surgery,” said Ms. Rees, the former daughter-in-law of Vivienne Westwood. (Ms. Rees founded Agent Provocateur in 1994 with her ex-husband, Joe Corré.) “It is wrong and it is worrying because it makes people so unhappy and insecure. In a weird way, I feel a little responsible for it.”
When she introduced Agent Provocateur 23 years ago, Ms. Rees hoped to empower women to take control of their sexuality and the way they displayed it in public and private. A tongue-in-cheek blend of stylishness and smut, it featured satin cutaway corsets, embroidered bra straps and barely there slips brazenly on display. All of these, Ms. Rees reasoned, could actually be tools of liberation.
“Except that people got carried away over the years,”…