BARBARA BUI AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK
When Barbara Bui explains her collections—this one included—she reliably eschews the trend spiel, the artist name-dropping, and the time travel. Sometimes this leaves a writer yearning for more context, but it also underscores how the designer rethinks her offering each season without much external influence. “No dictates,” she said backstage, before adding that, if pressed, she would describe the Fall collection as “romance pop.” More concretely, she pointed to the first look as a complete expression of her three priorities: lightness, length, and leg.
While that sounds alliteratively convenient, there was nothing straightforward about a skirt that gave the impression of being simultaneously long and short, fluid and fixed. Accordingly, it reappeared several times throughout the collection, as did a coat that featured panels of shearling or haircalf banded at equal intervals for textural contrast. In the past, Bui would show several loosely related ideas, unsure which one would stick. This season, the offering was noticeably more concise—and, by extension, more confident—so that the variety maxed out at a perfect-fit Perfecto in python, velvet, or paillettes.
Bui enlisted Caroline Vreeland, the great-granddaughter of Diana, to perform at her after-party, and it seems as if the budding chanteuse will also appear in a forthcoming brand campaign. The designer mentioned meeting Sharon Stone recently and how the Hollywood icon considers herself a fan. Put images of these two women side by side and the resemblance is uncanny, generation gap aside. It also paints a pretty good picture of the Barbara Bui customer today: a practical femme fatale. She’ll layer a vinyl down-filled vest over an ivory suit jacket, or run errands in flat pointy-toe booties and a dramatic cape.