WHAT’S NEW AT BICESTER VILLAGE
Home to over 160 boutiques, Bicester Village is becoming one of the most popular shopping destinations in the UK. It opened its doors in Oxfordshire in 1995 and has since grown in square footage, as well as attracting an increasing number of avid shoppers from all over the world. If you love luxury fashion, and some of the leaders in the industry, this is the place to find seasonal items at an impressively reduced price. Bicester Village is beautifully laid out with open air ‘streets’ leading to your favourite stores, along with a selection of inviting eating spots. Just be warned, if you’re a first timer, it’s almost impossible to just ‘drop in’ and have a swift browse. Time seems to go very quickly at Bicester village, and you can easily spend all day there. Now is a great time to visit, as they have recently opened a few new stores, as well as a branch of the well-known Cecconi’s Italian restaurants. If you’re still looking to complete your Christmas shopping list, it's just a quick hop on a train from central London.
Menswear Style recently had the pleasure of being invited to the opening of the first Cecconi’s in the UK outside of London, at Bicester. There are also sister restaurants in West Hollywood, Miami, Barcelona, Mumbai, and New York. The Cecconi company was taken over by Nick Jones’ Soho House & Co in 2005, and they continue the legacy of Enzo Cecconi by offering a heart-warming and classic Venetian menu. At the launch we were treated to Italian delights such as burrata, handmade pasta, crispy courgette fries, and a wedge of the creamiest tiramisu. The full menu also includes oven-baked pizzas, fresh seafood, and seasonal mains. The decor is modern, stylish, and welcoming with marble-topped tables, dusty clay-toned walls and long velvet dining sofas. We were drawn to the intriguing artwork, as well as the sophisticated, curved wooden, stool-seated bar. It’s no wonder the restaurant was buzzing, as this is the ideal place to recharge after a long day of retail therapy!
As a frequent visitor of Bicester Village, it’s easy to stick to the shops and restaurants that I know but every few months there appears to be an exciting new addition that I can resist investigating; whether it be the festive pop-up from Jo Malone, or relatively new stand-alone store from Maison Margiela. Whatever your style, and budget, there is undoubtedly something for everyone. Some of the key menswear stores that are definitely worth a visit are Paul Smith, Acne Studios, The North Face, All Saints, Levi’s, Off White, New Balance, Polo Ralph Lauren, Superdry, Ted Baker and Under Armour. It can be slightly overwhelming with what is on offer but a few top tips are to do a general walk around first - we recommend going early to avoid the crowds - and then go back to stores that have items that really catch your eye. If you are looking to spend your money wisely, but take the advantage of a major discount, we say go for key staple items that will be worn multiple times i.e. a leather jacket. It can be tempting in their ‘spectacular’ sales to go a bit over the top, but just keep in mind what you’re really after. We all love a bargain, but it makes it even more satisfying if you really get that cost per wear. It’s also worth chatting with the sales assistants in each store, as quite often, not all their stock is out and if there is something you previously spotted in a collection, they might well have it.
Talking of investing in classic items, another store has just opened in the last month at Bicester Village which for any watch collector out there will certainly have your wallet twitching! WatchFinder & Co. opened at Bicester Village on 26th November, bringing a new aspect of shopping and a selection of 150 pre-owned luxury watches to the table. Each watch has been individually inspected and authenticated and comes with 24 months of warranty. Shoppers can buy, sell, and exchange unique timepieces, as well as trading in your own timepiece for Bicester Village credit. We dropped by to have a look at their impressive collection of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, and Jaeger-LeCoultre watches and spotted some that are extremely rare and pretty much unattainable! If you’ve been on the waitlist for a serious investment piece (either classic or limited edition) in other stores, you might just find it here.
One last tip, before heading to Bicester Village, don’t forget to sign up to their membership scheme; the more you spend, the more benefits you shall receive! It sounds dangerous for your bank account, but it is worthwhile. Bicester Village also offers a fantastic personal shopping service, virtual shopping, hands-free shopping, as well as five-star treatment in their VIP apartments (invitation only) where you can sit back, relax, and have someone else do the shopping for you. With so much on offer, we’ll certainly be back before and after Christmas.