Miles Aldridge’s images for the new Agent Provocateur campaign may call to mind the beautiful autobots of Stepford Wives, but the photographer believes there is far more to this screen siren than meets the eye.
The images, shot in a studio with set design by Anna Burns, are “a childhood dream come true, where I drop by unannounced on a school friend to find his mother home, hoovering the kitchen in just her lingerie”.
While few people vacuum their kitchens these days and fewer still in a state of undress, Aldridge’s images celebrate the duality of suburban life – the boredom and the glamour that could be hiding behind any door. As Aldridge says: “Scratch the surface and the world is more beautiful and strange than you know.” Fittingly, the campaign itself is called Behind Closed Doors.
Sarah Shotton, the brand’s creative director, chose Aldridge after visiting his recent retrospective, I Only Want You To Love Me’, at Somerset House.
“I wanted our customers to get the humour and irony behind the concept of our campaign, so I focused on creating a really fun and playful collection,” says Shotton, who used gingham cotton and Austrian embroidery in a subversively retro way.
Domestic goddess (in Agent Provocateur)
“Miles Aldridge was the obvious choice, because his work is always very polished, surreal and perfect,” she says. “I wanted to create campaign imagery that mimicked the ‘perfect housewife’, but showed her in an altered, almost humorous light to highlight the absurd notion of the ‘perfect woman’.”
The absurdity of the idealised perfect woman was important to Aldridge, too: “Casting the right model was important. I didn’t want to convey a message of a subservient housewife. After all, Agent Provocateur wouldn’t be worn by a meek woman under the thumb of anyone. Hayley Clauson of Next Models was a superwoman on set – you can feel her charisma from the images.” agentprovocateur.com