Serena Rees famously turned the lingerie world on its head when she cofounded Agent Provocateur in 1994. Back then, the overtly sensual pieces broke new ground by helping women reclaim their sexuality. Last fall, she did it again with Les Girls Les Boys, a “bed to street” intimates label that trades in cool minimalism. The pendulum had, according to Rees, swung too far the other way toward an “oversexualized, unobtainable image,” and she (and the millennial to Gen Z crowd around her) had trouble finding simple undergarments that spoke to the times—ones that embraced inclusivity, openness, and, above all, ease. Naturally it was a hit, and so Rees has turned that same disruptive eye to the world of swimwear with a new collection launching today.
“Back in the nineties, we were talking about empowering women and saying it’s OK, let’s celebrate your sexuality, be OK with who you are,” Rees says. “That was right then, and I’m saying this is right for now. It’s important for this generation to feel proud of who they are and comfortable with their own natural selves.” And so the selection is both spare on trimmings and smart on coverage. There’s a perfect black string bikini and a series of sports bra–style tops, including one sugar-pink ribbed number with a neat drawstring bottom. The maillots are cut high at the chest in a flattering seventies shape—some are cinched at the waist—and a series of waterproof velvet items in shades like rose, mustard, and jade check all the right boxes.
“It could be described as beach-to-street,” she says—an escapist concept that’s rather in vogue these days. But Rees has put her own modern twist on it: Of the 39 pieces in the collection, three are classic men’s trunks literally cut from the same cloth—or, rather, unisex boxer shorts that can be mixed and matched with the rest of the lot. “Which I love,” she says. “It makes it feel like there are no steadfast rules in place—a freedom of youth.”