LONDON — Bicester Village is growing — and getting increasingly swanky. The Oxfordshire, England-based designer shopping outlet has expanded by a third to accommodate more than 30 additional boutiques, including Christopher Kane, Roksanda, the upscale cycling brand Rapha, Acne and Bamford.
Desirée Bollier, chair, Value Retail management, said extending the village gave Bicester “the freedom to showcase young and exciting design talents of tomorrow” as well as highlight all that Oxfordshire has to offer.
Bicester, one of 11 outlet villages in Europe and China owned by Value Retail, is also behaving increasingly like a luxury retailer with the opening of No. 50, a by-appointment-only VIP space that will offer private shopping consultations, personalized trunk shows and a chill-out space for guests.
It features a series of rooms designed by the London-based firm Carden Cunietti with marble fireplaces, de Gournay wallpaper, and oak herringbone floors. Specially commissioned oil paintings by the London born artist Amy Moseley and fashion photographs by Gia Coppola and Isabelle Van Zeijl hang on the walls. Cunietti said the aim was to create “an elegant country house interior.”
The team at Bicester embraced that luxe country house theme with a dinner on Thursday night to mark the opening of the new stores. The event was held at Aynhoe Park, a 402-year-old Georgian stately home and living cabinet of curiosities.
The private home was crammed with classical marble statues, plaster busts, a life-sized stuffed zebra and exotic birds, and a newly acquired Triceratops skull, not to mention a throne-like leather desk chair and model cars hanging from the walls. “We all have something in common,” said the owner James Perkins to the fashion editor guests. “We all love to shop.”
The village has also curated its own multi-brand retail space ahead of the holidays called The British Collective, with interiors done by the designer and illustrator Luke Edward Hall. It stocks cashmere by Chinti & Parker, scarves by Lily and Lionel, small leather accessories by Pickett, and knitwear by Markus Lupfer.
There are also new social and experiential spaces, including the Rapha Cycle Club and The Secret Garden Café restaurant. Charlotte Tilbury will be at the village as part of a series of pop-ups while a stainless steel art installation by the British artist Bruce Munro called Moon Blooms has just been installed.
Other brands that have opened in the new extension to the village include Under Armour, Villeroy & Boch, Dsquared2, The Cambridge Satchel Company and Zadig & Voltaire, bringing the total to more than 160.