Tuesday 22 December 2015


With only a few more days to go until Christmas, I headed to Bicester Village early yesterday morning in search of some last minute gifts for family and friends. Living locally, I've learnt to time my visits to the designer retail village with military precision to avoid the crowds - always getting there before the official opening time and enjoying a calming peppermint tea at Soho House Farmshop before hitting the stores.

Chiltern Railways' recent opening of Bicester Village station has been a great boost for both the retail village and the area, as it has helped ease the congestion at Bicester North station, the original hub for the retail outlet shoppers arriving both from London and Birmingham. The new station brings visitors straight to the village from Marylebone in 46 minutes and I was invited to experience the service first hand at the recent opening of the station.

As a regular commuter from Bicester North to Marylebone, it was a real treat being pampered with a Champagne lunch onboard the train, instead of sandwiches from the refreshments trolley. It's a speedy service to the village and there's a relaxing lounge at Bicester Village station, that's more like a corner of a Ralph Lauren store, than a station waiting room, with evocative black and white prints on the walls, fresh flowers and coffee table books to flick through while waiting for the train to London.

Speaking at the opening of the new station, Desiree Bollier, Chief Executive of Value Retail Management (the company that owns Bicester Village) confirmed, 'This isn't your average station waiting room, but it's the entry point to Bicester Village. We felt it needed the same attention to detail that has fuelled our progress for the last 20 years and that lies at the heart of everything we do.'

The snow machine in full swing at the recent opening of
Chiltern Railways' Bicester Village station, bringing shoppers straight to the heart of the retail village
from Marylebone Station in London in under an hour

Thursday 9 July 2015


I've seen Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A three times and I'm hoping to get to the show once more before it closes on 2nd August 2015. It's such an exciting show and I've discovered something new each time I've visited.

Savage Beauty has been described as Alexander McQueen's homecoming and we are lucky to have such an amazing exhibition on our doorstep.

Here's an edited version of the speech the V&A's Senior Curator of Fashion, Claire Wilcox, made at the Press opening of the exhibition:

'Alexander McQueen was one of the most influential designers of his generation. His radical and fearless vision changed the way we look at fashion. He provoked with his bumster trousers, he astonished with his dresses made from hand painted glass and razor clam shells, he shocked with his powerful and spectacular catwalk shows that were characterised by a love of storytelling.

Although bold and subversive with his ideas, everything McQueen did was rooted in craftsmanship of the highest level. As you probably know the original version of Savage Beauty took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011. It was brilliantly curated by Andrew Bolton, Curator of the Costume Institute, who is also a consultant curator on this exhibition.   

Portrait of Alexander McQueen, 1997. Photographed by Marc Hom
© Marc Hom/Trunk Archive

Sunday 15 March 2015


As the V&A's spectacular Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition comes to a close, the curator Edwina Ehrman discusses some of the highlights of the show and reveals what she wore to her own wedding.

Please describe your wedding dress - did you wear a white dress?
I did - I got married in 1976 and, in the end, I wore a Liberty's wedding dress. It was a classic mid -'70's design – so, a high neck, a pin-tuck front, big balloon transparent sleeves and quite a full skirt, plus a train. The bit that made me really feel like a bride was the train. It changed me completely - it was quite transforming.I had a headdress and a veil and I hated the headdress. It was very much the era of the headdress and looking back, it was absolutely vile. Weddings now are very different, because the bride usually has complete control and often the groom, too, due to the financial aspect. A wedding is something that the bride and groom will plan together now. I was completely reliant on my parents to fund the wedding.

1970's Style: Chiffon velvet and machine-made lace 'Faye Dunaway' dress by Thea Porter.
Designed for Susanne Trill when she married James Elliot in Lincoln on 21st March 1970

Wool dress with Celtic scrollwork designed by Jean Muir for Pamela Colin's
marriage to Lord Harlech in 1969