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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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia