“Restraint and irreverence” was how Barbara Bui summed up a collection where she played on the elegantly sensual through juxtapositions of black, varying their texture and transparency. Black is, as often with her, the prevalent color that enhances her natural/strong dichotomy.
“I was inspired to show that even in the dark there can be light,” said the designer after her fall-winter 2013/2014 show at the Westin this afternoon. “My woman is strong but in a chic, natural way.” It doesn’t break any stylistic boundaries, but when executed well, it generates a commercially viable proposal that doesn’t look out of place on a runway.
As is her customary signature, there isn’t a trick of tailoring that Bui met that she hasn’t liked, and used. Her outerwear was top-notch, as always, even when done in über-shaggy sheepskin. Coats were slung casually over shoulders but had cunning slits to slip arms and make them practical choices as capes.
Bui has always had an eye for what looks good on her fellow women and is always looking for ways to push the envelope in that regard. To continue the impression of strength brought on by her tailoring, shoulders were emphasized subtly or occasionally completely bared. But her own eye lingered more on the leg. By cropping a wide legged trouser well clear of the ankle, she reveals the boots beneath. This creates, as she puts it, “a very pretty proportion.”
Where she truly outshone herself however was in working with the varying translucence of a beautifully structured top, inverted Vs flashing skin, shoulders emphasized by well proportioned epaulettes. A black bib belted on an otherwise bare midriff evoked black tie rather than bondage, and the touch of gold and white she casually dropped every now and then served as palate cleansers. Textures ran the gamut of smooth, shiny leather, to richly embossed wools and will provide plenty of tactile pleasures to the hand browsing them come the fall.
- Lily Templeton