LONDON — Bicester Village, one of the nine Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in Europe by Value Retail, welcomed Rita Ora and a host of British design talent to the launch of the 2013 British Designers’ Collective, a boutique set up in collaboration with the outlet center and the British Fashion Council (BFC).
This year’s boutique follows the theme of “Future Vintage” and was curated by brand adviser and retail consultant Yasmin Sewell, who has chosen a selection of pieces that she believes will be collectible. “In 20 year’s time where will Jonathan [Saunders] be? And where will Mary Katrantzou be? Owning pieces from their early collections will be great things to have,” she told WWD.
The store stocks pieces from designers including, Richard Nicoll, Mary Katrantzou, Lucas Nascimento, Meadham Kirchhoff, House of Holland, David Koma and Preen, as well as accessories including hats from Piers Atkinson and Noel Stewart, jewelry from Mawi and Annina Vogel, and sunglasses from Linda Farrow and Prism — displayed in fridges on plastic “ice.”
“I love coming out here, always have, and spend a bomb of money,” continued Sewell. “There’s something about the place that makes me want to shop. I think that if you come and pick out great things it doesn’t matter what season it’s from if it’s a great item, well made — great design, it can go beyond that.”
Designer Henry Holland was equally enthusiastic about the shopping village. “It doesn’t look or feel like discount shopping,” he told WWD. “That’s what they’re so good at, the stores are stocked and merchandised in exactly the same way as other stores. The level of brands that are here is amazing. I usually go mental when I come here, in fact, I haven’t been to Marni yet.”
Ora hosted the reception, dressed in a Roksanda Ilincic dress and Kirkwood heels. “The word ‘vintage’ to me is what attracted me the most,” she said. “Vintage is about history, its about searching for a T-shirt which means that much more because you had to search for it, it is more personal as you know its been somewhere. It is the history and new vintage is almost a contradiction but it’s still very historical because we are British — a family of amazing creations and designers.”
Within sight of the Fendi, Dior, Celine and Marni outlets, designers involved in the boutique will be exposed to Bicester Village’s legions of visitors from foreign countries, garnering them a level of exposure that they might not otherwise have. “The British Designers’ Collective at Bicester Village is an opportunity for some of Britain’s most exciting designers to showcase their work alongside established heritage labels. It’s a unique and unrivalled shopping experience that allows visitors to discover new designers at a fraction of the price,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC.
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