Credit cards at the ready! An exciting pop-up boutique has just opened at BICESTER VILLAGE …
The British Fashion Council, responsible for promoting British designers in the global fashion economy and organiser of London Fashion Week, has opened an exciting pop-up boutique at Bicester Village. Running until November 11 at the Oxfordshire shopping destination, where boutiques include Gucci, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Dior, Celine and Chloe, the BFC Designer Pop-up, an all-pink, super-chic emporium, is retailing some exciting fashion brands, including Irish designer Sharon Wauchob, Christopher Kane, Emilia Wickstead, Eudon Choi, Holly Fulton, Marques Almeida, Mother of Pearl, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto, Perfect Moment, Roksanda, Teatum Jones and TEIJA, at exceptionally low prices. The fashion press were out in force for the launch, and rails were stripped almost bare (in particular, Roksanda’s bell-sleeved tops and dresses were quickly whipped away to dressing rooms) with queues forming at the till.
The BFC Designer Pop-up is part of a two-year partnership between the British Fashion Council and The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, the eleven luxury shopping destinations in Europe and China by Value Retail, which will support British designers via a tailored programme of business mentorship and commercial opportunity. The Business of Retail programme is offered to a group of alumni from the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund and the BFC Fashion Trust, together with a selection of established brands to give designers business development expertise and global exposure, assisting them in achieving sustained commercial success.
There we met Irish designer Andrew Bell, whose scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London for a Masters in Fashion is underwritten by Kildare Village’s Fashion Bursary, who has also benefited from the far-sightedness of Value Retail’s powerhouse Chief Merchant Desirée Bollier who recognises young emerging fashion talent. He attests to the hands-on nature of the support of Kildare Village. “They have been amazing, particularly of course, Aisling Farinella, who coordinates the Fashion Bursary.”
Bollier, a fascinating Lebanese businesswoman who combines charm and thoughtfulness with business nous and a panoramic understanding of the fashion industry, has succeeded in turning the concept of outlet fashion on its head, offering a carefully curated mix of top-end brands in an atmosphere of luxury and ease. “The key to shopping at Bicester and other Villages is luxury and experience, as well as designer clothes. Every customer is a guest, it’s experiential rather than transactional.” From the vernacular design of the Villages, to gorgeous Christmas decorations, to lively animations and a chic VIP shopping suite, it certainly is a remarkable pleasant place to spend a day. As for the fashion, it’s terrific. As Bollier says: “Every collection, every season [of a designer] should be celebrated. Why not?” As well as those previous-season but still eminently desirable clothes (swoon-worthy Dior and Chloe in particular) at Bicester, (which has its own picturesque train station, with trains running direct from Marylebone station, by the way) you can have lunch at the Wolseley and browse at the Tate pop-up.
Definitely on our radar for a fashion swoop next spring, Bicester reminded us to visit Kildare Village again soon, certainly before Christmas.
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