EDITOR'S NOTE: There is an important update to this story at the bottom of this article!
BONUS UPDATE: In addition to the updated information below -- the White House is now strong denying the Telegraph report. You can read that report here.
Michelle Obama apparently went shopping there.
So now there's a headline that really tempts you to click:
But a couple of things aren't clear to me.
The least which -- can you really spend $50,000 on lingerie?
My main question is -- how does The Telegraph know this?
The headline and the article seem to be a little out of sync. In the headline, the $50k and the 12% sales jump are tied to the First Lady alone.
But take a look at the article:
The First Lady – better known for shopping at more modestly-priced High Street stores – along with the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah, closed off part of Madison Avenue to spend time in the luxury lingerie shop. Their purchases contributed to a market-spanking 12.5pc lift in sales.
Agent Provocateur, which is styled on vintage Hollywood glamour, sells handmade Calais lace corsets that sell for up to £900, which could ruffle the feathers of more than just President Barack Obama in an election year.
Gary Hogarth, Agent Provocateur's chief executive, refused to be drawn on the store's closely kept "secret client list". But he admitted the brand had attracted a high number of "unexpected famous names" – especially in the US, where sales have overtaken the UK.
So...the article adds a new figure. The Queen of Qatar.
Here she is:
Now -- if Sheikha Mozah was part of the shopping spree...how big a part of it was she?
And, by the way, when did this take place? So far, I'm having a hard time placing the two women in New York together with time to shut down Madison Avenue. It's certainly possible though!
Here's what we know. The Telegraph claims Michelle Obama and Sheikha Mozah spent $50,000 on lingerie. Here's what we do not yet know -- how much they each spent.
The Queen might have spent $49,950. I'm not sure what $50 buys you at Agent Provocateur, but maybe the First Lady walked out with just that!
Check that -- I just reviewed the most recent Agent Provocateur collection. You cannot buy anything for $50.
There is a $90 thong. There's also a $190 thong. And a top that seems pretty intricate for $590:
I have walked by the store on Madison Avenue. I have never ventured inside.
I will say, it's not anything like the Montgomery Wards where I worked during college.
I have this index of AP photos that I can search to help illustrate stories. When I search the words "Agent Provocateur," I get 20 results. I'm pretty certain that 18 of those photos would get me in real trouble if posted here on The Blaze!
Here's one that seems okay:
That's from some fashion event in Berlin in 2009.
And this one, from Vienna in 2008, is sort of okay if I crop the photo to cut her off at the waist:
I diligently examined the official Agent Provocateur website to find some representative photographs.
They are big into the "soft-focus mood of the seventies." That's an actual quote.
Here is the safest of the pics:
All in all, it makes Victoria's Secret seem kinda like, well, Montgomery Wards.
Did I mention they make a $24,000 "playsuit?" You don't really want to know, right? At least I'll have something to ask the Emir of Qatar if I ever meet him.
There is no denying that Agent Provocateur has tried to live up to it's name. The brand is well known for it's "scandalous" ads.
I looked at several of the videos on their YouTube channel.
I don't think I'm old enough to look at any of them.
In the end, we don't know what Michelle Obama bought or how much she spent.
At least at this point.
Maybe responsible journalism requires me to make an in-person visit to the Madison Avenue store this week. The truth has no agenda, right?
Update: The Telegraph has now slightly altered their headline:
The updated headline, however, still doesn't really clarify much! It removes the phrase "one shopping spree." But it is still implies that the First Lady is the one that spent the $50,000 even though the article seems to contradict that. Hm.
Update #2: The White House is now denying they story. Read our report here.