If you want plentiful designer bargains but can’t bear to shop the sales I implore you to take a trip to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. I was treated to an impromptu visit last week and boy, was it a-mazing. In addition to Ralph Lauren, Dior, Celine, Loro Piana, Tods and Mulberry, there’s a new Anya Hindmarch store which literally had my heart pogo-ing (it doesn’t take much does it?). I bought this jacket in navy wool crepe reduced from £345 to £172 (although I was also given a free £50 voucher). Now if you bought this in the sale it would be all squished up against a random mix of crap and would probably have a button dangling off it and foundation on the collar. Well here’s the beauty of Bicester Village. Each shop is exactly like a regular branch of Mulberry/Tods/Anya Hindmarch. The stock is beautifully displayed, the staff are attentive without breathing down your neck and your goodies are lovingly swathed in tissue paper and packed in a beribboned bag, not bundled into a plastic carrier with SALE emblazoned across the front. The best bit (apart from the Carluccio’s restaurant) is it’s sale time all year round, so if you fancy some select splurging in a civilised environment, get yourself to Marylebone station, it’s a mere hour on the train.
I keep seeing the cutest shoes. First in Liberty, then in the Toast catalogue. Chie Mihara is a Brazilian-born Japanese designer who studied in New York before interning at an orthopaedic shoe store. After two years designing shoes and bags for Sam & Libby she spent another two years at Charles Jourdan. Her USP is mixing fashion with comfort, how novel but how cool! I especially like her website, www.chiemihara.com,You can buy online too.
The press days continued this week. Everyone seems to be wearing a press day uniform of grey skinny jeans, Cons and trench – more variety please ladies! So far, here is the best swag:
Strange but-in-a-nice-way Kenzo bow keyring
Les Nereides plastic alien keyring and phone charm
Not impressed with Chanel’s bottle of Chance perfume. More imagination needed next time.
G Star unveiled its spanking new footwear range G Star Raw this week. I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe some sort of rugged work-boot affair – but I wasn’t expecting this. The main attractions are some gorgeously-made pared-down boots with chunky stack heels, almond toes but understated details. Colours are strictly neutral black, brown or grey and branding is thankfully minimal. The surprise is the pricing. From £40 for a Stan Smith-style trainer to £180 for the knee boots these are pretty affordable. They hit the stores (USC, Office, G Star) in August but I’m getting this preview pair (see above) to try out. Lucky me, I’ll report back.