Ooops. That would be the word. Or make it a Bicester Ooops. That happens pretty much every time I am up at Bicester Village. To be fair, the majority of contents in those shopping bags are for other people but still, it is a bit of an ooops. It’s that time of year again when British Designer’s Collective is back for another round at Bicester Village. It’s the fifth time British designers have been gathered up to pop-up at Bicester Village to add into the mix of impressive label roster and this year, the theme has been to combine the worlds of art and fashion together. A pre-event launch at Keeper’s House, Royal Academy’s new-ish art lover social space set the tone. And then on an early morning train with other giddy fashion journos, we went up to Bicester Village to see what Yasmin Sewell and her retail magic team have conjured up. A striking blue studded exterior that carries through to the inside houses a real snapshot of where British fashion is today. Sure we’re talking past seasons here but it’s the range that is impressive. Up above on the walls you have pieces by artists and Royal Academicians like Gary Hume and Grayson Perry to compliment the rails as well as adding an art dimension that hasn’t really been seen before at Bicester.
Designer wise, you have your established folk – Roksanda Ilincic, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll and House of Holland – all wildly different and coming together in an eclectic pot. Nicholas Kirkwood is a big draw on the shoe front. They’re names that are reaching household status. You then have your new establishment or whatever you want to call this middling category with J.W. Anderson, J J.S. Lee, Michael van der Ham and Holly Fulton, again representing very different aesthetic strands. Finally you have your very very new new designers in Marques Almeida, Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo, designers, who aren’t necessarily easy to find on rails in London. That in itself is worth the short train ride up to Bicester. On the day I was full-on dressed up in Team Ryan lace and glitter (I think I may have left a trail of iridescent glitter behind me on the Chiltern Railways train – that’s another “Ooops!”). By the end of the day, I had procured a beautiful painted Claire Barrow white leather biker jacket, conjured up from her imagination. These pieces sell themselves without needing instantly recognisable names as a draw. New visitors to this year’s edition of BDC are definitely in for a treat.
P.S. If you’ve seen me tagging #BDCSelfie on social posts, that’s because I’m helping BDC to pick out creative selfies to win four £250 vouchers (and I promise that goes a long way at a place like Bicester – £40 Prada earrings anyone?). Just follow @BicesterVillage on Twitter or Instagram and post a creative selfie, tagging them with #BDCSelfie to go into the competition pot.