Sunday, June 10, 2007

Village People

Yesterday, because we were in the area, we went to designer retail outlet discount centre Bicester Village. We're in the area about once every eighteen months and will drop in with increasingly low expectations of what we might find.

Last time we were there I bought a pair of Camper shoes which turned out to be from a range called 'Twins'. Sadly these weren't identical twins, they were subtly, though noticeably different. At first, probably because I'd just spent fifty quid on odd shoes, I justified this as an appropriately quirky manifestation of my character. Eventually they simply became a pair of odd shoes; odd shoes are worn by Big Brother contestants and sixth form students trying to amplify their brittle teenage characters onto a thankless peer group. My odd shoes just slipped to the back of the cupboard, to become crushed by pairs of shoes which looked the same. A sort of shoe based Darwinism.

Not that Bicester Village is totally without value. If you are morbidly obese to the point that a barrage balloon is considered to pinch a little under the arms, or skeletal to the point that risks full multiple collapse of your internal organs as a result of your bowing pipecleaner bones, then you will indeed find some of the latest fashions at discounted rates. We saw a pair of wedge healed open toed sandals at LK Bennet which are the very height of fashion, but sadly much as we tried to jam them on, they were just too small for Millie's thirteen month old feet.

If you're within a normal size range - and for this I mean that you don't have feet so big that skis are unnecessary when wintering in Whistler, or that they appear to be mere stumps. If you are within this range the shopping is rather more hit or miss. Occasionally you will find a pair of well tailored trousers, but on pulling them off the rack you'll realise that there has been a scale embroidered picture of a cat having a vasectomy stitched onto the left thigh as a design flourish. In the Camper store, Emma found a pair of men's slip-on shoes which looked like they'd been made from a neon pink cauliflower. Someone, somewhere, drew a picture of that and someone somewhere said; 'we're going to sell millions of those'.

Apart from Japanese tourists, of which there are loads, the other noticeable tribe trawling the village are fashionistas who obviously subscribe to the concept of enhancing their persona by wearing designer gear. However, they don't appear to be able to actually afford any of it at regular price and buy exclusively from the Village's hideous discounted ranges. So next time you see someone in a baseball cap made from a Lion's mane, a coat with a silver picture of hippo eating a Wagon Wheel, a skirt which spins round and changes colour with variations in temperature and shoes with horns sticking out of them. Ask them if they found anything nice at Bicester Village that weekend.


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