Barbara Bui S/S16
Barbara Bui S/S16

I don’t know why I’ve not noticed this before, but I’m beginning to think that Barbara Bui is the younger version of Blumarine’s Anna Molinari. Both are physically very petite, both are very strong personalities, and both will fill your closet with clothes capable of getting a girl in trouble if they’re not worn correctly and carefully. In fact, this season, where comparisons are coming a bit easier, it is quite possible that Barbara Bui has out-sexied (yes, that’s a word I just created) the Balmain collection shown just previous.

Wait, sexier than Balmain? How is that possible? Consider that both started their shows with sexy tan ensembles. Olivier went soft with suede, but Barbara went hard-core from the start with polished leather. Olivier relied on large mesh to make his dresses sexy. Barbara went with dresses that could be fairly safe, but when worn as shown on the runway, with a very loosely tied halter these tops only flirt with the idea of covering anything and the slits up the make greater embarrassment only one misstep away. The tiny blue bras Barbara puts with her looks are a nice touch, but if you’re into the #freethenipple campaign then leave the bra home and be as free as you dare. Both play with belts, too, but for Barbara the belts are a bit more critical as they are all that holds together the cross-wrap dresses.

Then, Barbara arguably tops Balmain with some creative touches that should have Olivier kicking himself. Take, for example, the leather knee shorts Bui uses on several looks. Skin tight, they cover more while seriously ramping up the sensuality. Then, she goes and pairs that with a short-sleeved bomber jacket! Nope, I’m not kidding. The look is incredibly strong, incredibly sexy, and incredibly creative for a collection known for its broad commercial appeal. Then, just to take things right over the top, Barbara adds fringe. Not too much, mind you, and certainly not to every piece, but where she applies it the fringe makes the piece sizzle.

Oh, and I almost forgot; that cross-your-heart look we saw so often at Balmain? Barbara does that better, too, using the same technique to create a cropped bustier-style top. In leather. Grab a tissue, you’re drooling.

There is so much to like about this spring/summer collection that one would be a fool to not fill the closet if you can. Sexy? Yes, but to what degree is totally up to the wearer. One can make the pieces from this collection quite conservative and they’ll still look just as good. That type of flexibility in fashion is difficult to find.

Fashion isn’t supposed to be a contest, really (cough, cough), but put this Barbara Bui collection up against next spring’s Balmain and the lady’s added creativity wins hands down.

Don’t kick yourself too hard, Olivier, you bruise easily.

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