British Designers Collective at Bicester Village

On Monday I finally paid a visit to Bicester Village. I’m really not a bargain hunter, so this is not really somewhere I thought about going for fun. But, yours truly is now a complete convert. Here’s why.

I wrote about the British Designers Collective a while back, so with only 2 weeks to go, I knew I needed to go fast. Me and my mom hopped on a train from Marylebone, and in Bicester North a taxibus awaited us to drop us off straight at the village. Upon arrival I went – no, RAN – straight to the British Designers Collective shop. The idea of anyone else grabbing the one piece I wanted was just beyond horrible.

As I walked in, the first thing I spotted was the Erdem rack. ERDEM. ERDEM!!!! They even had the dress I bought in the Matches sale a few months ago (I actually got mine a little cheaper, but that’s beyond the point) As it was just after the weekend, they had replenished the racks with brand new stock, the helpful manager told me. So I grabbed about everything they had in my size and started my journey through my past few seasons at London Fashion Week. Here were all the collections of the designers I’d been admiring on the catwalks for the past few years. Hannah Marshall, Erdem, Osman, Felder Felder, Charlotte Olympia, Mark Fast, Emma Cook, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Maria Francesca Pepe, House of Holland… the stock was plenty and much more was hidden in the back. (If you ask nicely they’ll have a look for you). Best of all, the prices are really amazing. Of course you can’t expect to own a Mark Fast knitted dress for £20, but if you’re willing to overlook the fact that some pieces are from a season or two ago, there’s some real gems in there. I was told no more Erdem will be coming in as Mr. Moralioglu wants his pieces to be exclusive and no longer wants them as a sale item.

The shop is open until May 7 and I strongly suggest you hurry on up there – much more to score as new stock is still arriving. I’ve been told the British Fashion Council will review the success of this first time pop-up shop, and if they’re pleased with the results, will do it again in September, and maybe even make it permanent. I think it would be an absolutely great move on their part. The young designers get exposure to a whole new crowd and people like myself get to own pieces we normally never could.

Here’s what I scored: (and erm… be nice, these pics were taken at my desk with Photobooth, I didn’t brush my hair and am not wearing any makeup!)

*A black Erdem skirt, which is simple at first sight, but is actually Surialpaca wool, which feels absolutely amazing and has the Erdem print on the inside. Although no one can see it, knowing it’s there makes me feel a little special!

*A white Erdem coat-dress in the most beautiful off-white brocade I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty much fit for my own wedding, but I’m probably just going to wear it to upstage the bride at the next wedding I go to. Possibly the nicest thing I’ve ever owned. Ever.

*A black ruffled Felder Felder Little Black Dress that has the best fit I’ve ever had. So comfy, sexy and sophisicated at the same time.

A bit further on at the Burberry store, I also bought an amazing grey, almost Grecian dress for £90, the original price was £900. The pleating detail on it is marvelous. It’s actually a size too big, but a little work for that price is really the least of my worries.

To say I’ve been converted to outlet shopping is an understatement. I tried on £5000 dresses at Alexander McQueen. Platform shoes at Marni, sweaters at Luella, classic trenchcoats at Burberry, bikini’s at Matthew Williamson, my mom bought some nice Tod’s shoes… Even Phaidon have opened a shop with brand new coffee table books you’ll find in stores everywhere else at more than 30% off. Yup, I guess I’m now a fan Bicester Village.

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