Friday, October 1, 2010

My precious... A trip to Bicester Village, Oxfordshire

On reflection, I did a little bit of shopping in the UK. Just a little bit. I will show you the majority of my purchases later on but I thought I would show you my haul from Bicester Village today.

Bicester Village - if you aren't a devoted reader of Blighty or a shopaholic like me - is a luxury brand outlet village located about 10 miles north east of Oxford. It was a featured destination on the Kitty's trip of the UK.

Unfortunately, Bicester proved to be somewhat of a disappointment for moi. The brands were all there - YSL, Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry, Mulberry, all the berries, Jimmy Choo as well as a good selection of High Street labels ... But honestly? The prices were outrageous when compared to the US equivalent, Woodbury Common. And it was full of people. Jam packed. Shame on me for going on a Saturday but it was bordering on unpleasant it was that crowded. Actually no - it was unpleasant.

As I mentioned, the prices are insane: Jimmy Choos started at about 200 pounds a pair - and they weren't all that fabulous - they were the really remaindered ones. I saw a pair of shoes that I had seen in a retail store a few weeks earlier that were more expensive in the outlet. Dior prices were almost the same as retail. There were two women having a brawl in Burberry over a scarf that was 15% off. And they didn't have my Mulberry bag - or any nice bags for that matter - in stock which didn't really surprise me... It was such a disappointment because a number of my friends had spoken of the amazing bargains they had found at the outlet village but for me it took quite a lot of searching and digging to find a well priced bargain.

But never fear - a bargain or three I did find. Miss Kitty never disappoints.

My first bargain was in Valentino - a gorgeous pair of pink silk satin and silver leather shoes. An absolute bargain at 80 pounds ($140) reduced from 500 pounds ($900). They were the last pair - sometimes it helps to have large feet in these situations. I am considering dying the satin black though - it would make them a lot more practical for moi, given I feel I might ruin them first wear if I don't... But we shall see how we get on.

They are really quite comfortable too - a good buy!

Now that I had my shopping mojo working, I scoured the shops to find more beauties. It took me a lot of looking though, and at one point I got quite despondent. But all was not lost.

My second and third purchases were made at the same shop - Alexander McQueen. There aren't a lot or McQueen outlets around. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen one other than at Bicester. Since the great man's passing, his clothes have become highly collectible, selling out both in store and online so unlike a lot of labels there often isn't a lot to sell off at the end of season. Really, it's been hard to put your hands on anything if you want a bit of McQueen fabulousness for your wardrobe.

I originally saw this dress in Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann a year ago when we were in Paris. Awestruck by it's beauty I think I stood and stared at it for a full 5 minutes before moving any part of my body. It was divine. I was speechless. Then I saw the price - 1800 euros (at the time that equated to $3275 as the Aussie dollar was so bad). I almost had to sit down - it was such a divine dress designed, clearly, by an artiste. The colours were perfect for my skin tone and the graduated houndstooth so chic. It was nothing other than a work of art. A classic. But 1800 euros was a bit steep... Tell a lie - it was an insane price. Not doable. And besides, they only had a small and an extra small on the racks so the price was really a moot point given I would need two of them to cover me. With a sigh of despair I put the dress back on the rack and banished it from my thoughts, only pausing to sigh when I saw it in the occasional magazine editorial or a celebrity on the red carpet.

Look! In it's own speccy garment bag!

Fast forward a year later to me, standing in the Alexander McQueen store in Bicester. And on the rack is this dress. Even better - it was in my size. Best of all - the price. Reduced to a still eye watering 320 pounds - about $500. But that was certainly a lot better than $3275. A lot. I tried it on and it fit - beautifully. Destiny - like so many of my purchases.

I love the graduated houndstooth pattern and the gorgeous bow on the neck - it's so unique and interesting. It's such a special dress I know I will love it for a very long time. It is, as Becky Brandon would say "an antique of the future." It is timeless and classic.

While I was standing by the cash register, handing over my credit card I also saw this beauty.

It was a black and red silk bird scarf I had seen on many websites and coveted - Net-a-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus... Completely sold out. It wasn't particularly cheap but I did want it and reasoned with myself that with the VAT refund from the two items would reduce the price enough to make it worth it. Plus it is a beautiful silk scarf and not so expensive when you consider the cost of a scarf from Hermes or Fendi... So I bought it - and I'm glad I did. The colour is perfect and it's a gorgeous accessory.

Ummm... Might need to iron some of those creases out before wearing...

So despite not going nuts on buying everything I saw like I anticipated, I still managed to get a couple of choice items that I am more than happy with. Ecstatic in fact. Would I go back to Bicester? Maybe, but I wouldn't go on a weekend. If you do, be prepared for mayhem, take your credit card and be prepared to hunt hard for those extra special bargains!



Anonymous said...

Great purchases! You did well with grabbing the Alexander McQueen pieces at such great prices! Jealous!!!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

They were fabulous Sass! There wasn't much i the outlet (it's very small and half men's clothing) but what they did have was amazing. I was especially tempted by shoes but couldn't justify it...

Sydney Shop Girl said...

What gorgeous buys!!

SSG xxx

Blighty said...

Hey, Miss Kitty-Cat, I had no idea you had a blog, and it looks fab! I must go to supermarket now (boring, boring) but I will come back and read all your delicious posts as a reward for good housewifeness! Can't wait!! I will put you on my blogroll right now! xx

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time. Have you been to any of the other Chic Outlet Shopping Villages, there are 9 in Europe.

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

SSG - I am proud of them! It took a lot of searching!

Blighty! I'm glad you have found my blog! Enjoy - and I look forward to hearing your comments.

ChicOutletShopping - I have been to La Vallee Village but none of the other ones. Will have to put them on my list when we next go to Europe!

Blighty said...

Dear Miss Kitty, what a great post on Bicester, most interesting I have never been at a weekend due to children, only the middle of the day in the week, and always quite quiet then. You really did well to be so discerning, your Mc Queen purchases are divine, that dress is classic and I love the scarf too. You are obviously a very good shopper, i wish I could be like that, I tend to fritter on lower cost items which I then become dissatisfied with quite quickly! also love those shoes, so flattering and elegant. Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog, i am rationing myself, using it as rewards between doing domestic stuff! xx

Elise said...

FABULOUS dress. Timelessly chic. Im so jealous!

Oh and th

Elise said...

That is suppose to say:

Oh and the shoes are lovely, i'd leave them as is but i agree hard to keep clean.

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Blighty! Going during the week sans children would be a much better idea. Much easier to find things and no waiting! I actually should have spent more time in the High Street Stores - would have had more luck methinks! Although I'm not sure my suitcase could have coped with the additional purchases...

Elise - I am going to give it a go staying pink. I figure if I ruin them I can always dye them then.