A Sign of the Times

Words by Luke Singleton

Debrett’s partners with Bicester Village, to create a ‘Guide To British Style’

Occasional dressing, women’s handbag styles, and the cut, carat and clarity of diamonds, are but some of the details accompanying photographs and illustrated diagrams in the ‘Guide To British Style’, a creative collaboration between Bicester Village and Debrett’s.

The 250-year-old company, whose publications precept an unmatched authority in etiquette, and societal codes of dressing and behaving, lends it’s historical provenance to an ever-changing analysis of current trends and how people dress now, reflected in the increasing variety of occasions that have joined the annual schedule: including Royal Ascot and the Grand National, Glastonbury festival, and even the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The 56-page pocket guide, which will be available to VIP guests at Bicester Village, presents the rules of stylish dressing for a number of occasions, from black tie and morning dress, to country wear and festival attire. Bicester Village is part of a wider conversation, in this curious observation of our times, in that it’s a company, amongst others, that is aiding the democratization of fashion by making the availability of exclusive brands accessible to the general public, a dynamic made even more poignant by the growing influence of social media platforms in high-end fashion. Demographic crossover is no longer a dirty secret within the luxury market, and a laid-back attitude regarding the way we shop is becoming the norm, reflected by the industry’s progressive leaning towards 'aseasonal' and ‘buy it now’ marketing strategies.

The launch this Tuesday, which took place at London’s Royal Academy, opened with a discussion on the influence of British style within a global fashion authority. A panel of guests, featuring Mary Portas, Richard E. Grant, Tim Lord and Lady Kitty Spencer, lent their opinions to broader topics such as the importance of shifting social codes in modern dressing, and the longevity of trends in today’s fast-paced, oversaturated market. It was Lord who particularly championed English companies, like Lock & Co. Hatters, whose adherence to tradition sets the benchmark for quality in worldwide creative industries. Whereas Grant noted a gradual shift away from the influence of heritage within quintessential British style, favouring Zara for trousers and day-to-day basics.

Find out more at Debrett's