The White House issued an angry denial following claims that First Lady Michelle Obama indulged in a $50,000 shopping spree at Agent Provocateur’s boutique in Madison Avenue in New York.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph today, Agent Provocateur’s boutique in Madison Avenue was partially closed off for Michelle Obama.
Kristina Schake, director of communications for First Lady Michelle Obama said this morning: “This story is 100 per cent false.”
The Telegraph claimed: “Michelle Obama has risked the wrath of cash-strapped Americans by indulging in a $50,000 shopping spree at Agent Provocateur…
“Along with the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah, she closed off part of Madison Avenue to spend time in the luxury lingerie shop.”
The article also said that Michelle Obama’s alleged spree had sparked the 12% boost in sales recently released by the British label.
But while the chain’s profits are certainly on the rise, it was quick to point out that this is not thanks to Michelle Obama.
A spokesman for Agent Provocateur said: “Recent claims regarding Michelle Obama and purchases made at an Agent Provocateur boutique are incorrect.
“Agent Provocateur never discusses any of its clientele or their purchases.”
Indeed, it goes without saying that Michelle Obama’s lingerie-purchasing habits are most likely not something she would be prepared to share with anyone but the President himself.
It seems Agent Provocateur is doing fine without her help though. In the last 43 weeks, the company reported trading has been up 12.5% on a like-for-like basis and 21.6% overall.
Over the Christmas period overall business also shot up more than 15%.
Agent Provocateur CEO Gary Hogarth told the Telegraph that the label had garnered several “unexpected famous names” in the U.S. as of late.
Beyonce Knowles and Christina Aguilera have been seen at its stores in recent months, presumably purchasing unmentionables which can run to as much as $1,990 for a single French lace nightie.
Michelle Obama has come under fire from critics of late, who have taken issue with her taste for expensive designer labels and lavish parties.
A new book by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, “The Obamas”, fuelled widespread criticism when it emerged that she had hosted a high-octane Alice in Wonderland Halloween party in 2009, a time when the country was in the midst of a recession.
The expensive wardrobe Michelle Obama packed for their $4 million Hawaii Christmas break, including a $2,000 dress and $1,000 skirt, also sparked a reaction.
One comment on the Naked DC site read: “She claims to be a champion of the poor and a fellow bargain shopper, but yet, here she is, sporting a dress that no unemployed American can afford.
“For someone who says she understands the troubles of the American people, who claims to shop at Target, she certainly fails to show it.”
Michelle Obama’s striking cobalt blue Barbara Tfank dress, worn for last week’s State of the Union address, is believed to be worth approximately $2,000.
While winning over the style set with the eye-catching look, some questioned whether her choice was appropriate, given that she was seated next to Jackie Bray, a single mother from North Carolina who put herself through community college to boost her career prospects after getting laid off from her job.
Agent Provocateur, founded by the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Joseph Corré, and his then-wife, Serena Rees, in 1994, was bought out by private equity firm 3i in 2007 for a reported $108.5 million.
With Sarah Shotton as creative director, the designs certainly are not for the faint-hearted. The current collection is inspired by her collection of vintage Playboy magazines.
The company’s expansion in the U.S. – where sales have outpaced the UK – is already underway.
According to Business Week, Agent Provocateur has annual sales of $40million, with a budgeted increase of nine per cent same-store sales this year in the U.S.
By summer, the label plans to have 11 retailers in the U.S. and is aiming to expand from 54 to 100 total stores worldwide in the next three years.