Go behind the magic
Twinkling lights, festive installations and enticing wafts from cinnamon-scented pastries are just the start of the Christmas celebrations across The Bicester Village Shopping Collection. The magic of Christmas has also been brought to life in the boutique windows by a series of illustrations – from a Cotswold Christmas garden at Bicester Village to the enchanting forest at Ingolstadt Village.
We caught up with some of the artists about their favourite hotspots, personal style and what inspires their artwork.
Gráinne Bath Enright at Bicester Village
Dublin-based artist Gráinne Bath Enright (@grainne.b.e) is passionate about the natural world, something that shines through in her Cotswold garden-inspired scenes that cover the Village’s boutique windows.
“I've always loved the idea of designing worlds – I was an avid fantasy-book reader. I studied set design at Dublin’s Institute of Art, Design & Technology, and I’ve been drawing and designing since graduating in 2014,” says Gráinne.
“My favourite place is County Donegal in Ireland, there’s so much untouched natural beauty. You’ll be standing in the most beautiful spot, with no one else around.” When it comes to personal style, the outdoors is another important influence. “A gorgeous coat and practical pair of boots are on my wish list. That way I can withstand the elements while enjoying the tranquillity and inspiration all around.
“Being so influenced by the environment in my work, sustainability is also very important in my wardrobe, and I'm trying to be eco-conscious in my clothing choices.”
Julia Michel at Ingolstadt Village
“I was raised in a creative atmosphere, finding inspiration in photos, old magazines and postcards,” says Julia, the artist behind the forest-themed illustrations at Ingolstadt Village. “I also get ideas from the people around me. The Village team was very talented and supported me throughout the project.
“The piece features cute animal motifs, such as a fox trying to reach for a Furla handbag hanging on a tree!”
Originally from Moscow, Julia finds Russia’s capital city more and more beautiful every year – but it’s New York she’d love to visit for the festive season. And what’s on her wish list for Christmas? “After completing this project I’ve realised I need a bigger handbag that will fit all my art materials!” she laughs.
After this project I’ve realised I need a bigger handbag that will fit all my art materials!
Ilaria Faccioli and Elisa Macellari at Fidenza Village
“I’ve read illustrated books since I was a child, and that’s partly what inspired me to become an artist. There was one book in particular that I looked at again and again, until it was worn out: ‘Tante stagioni’ by Satomi Ichikawa,” says Ilaria. “And my two children – they’re a continuous source of inspiration.”
The artists’ boutique windows feature magical animals, set within a large enchanted forest in which small stories are hidden for guests to discover. For Elisa, the nature-inspired pieces fit perfectly with her innate sense of design, motivated by “the shape of plants, animals that I like and the jungle, and also from the history of art and design.”
She adds: “The most beautiful place I have visited is Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, but Bangkok has my heart, because my family is half Thai.
“In fact, my ideal Christmas would be spent at home with my family and lots of food, such as a nice plate of cappelletti in brodo, as per the Umbrian tradition, cooked according to my grandmother's recipe.”
Look out for their magical work in the Villages now.