PFW: BARBARA BUI S/S 2014

My best guess is that someone gave designer Barbara Bui a truck load of denim for her birthday or some other gift-giving event, and she got so excited that she just had to do an entire collection in denim. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Ah, but this isn’t just another pair of jeans. Heavy embroidery and detailing taking these pieces to a much higher level. If denim can make its way to the upper echelon of high fashion, this is the collection that may take it there.

Silhouettes run the gamut from masculine-styled sport coats to tunics, boleros, cropped tops and one very interesting asymmetrical coat with a 3D effect keeping it interesting. Slicks and shorts (sometimes swimsuit short) are high waisted and generally full in the hips, then tapered. Thin leather belts give a sharp finished look to the pieces, while leather-looking rubber coated cotton panels provide additional contrast. White men’s oxford style shoes finished the ensembles nicely.

The weak spot in the collection comes with the bandeau tops present in several of the ensembles. Perhaps the designer had more elaborate plans and simply ran out of time, I’m not sure, but the bland tops give an unfinished look that keeps the collection from reaching has high as it might otherwise.

Toward the end, Ms. Bui does toss in a couple of rose-colored floral prints, an orange suit, and some black and white pieces, but they almost feel gratuitous in a collection that otherwise gives itself so wholly to denim.  While we’ve seen denim several times this season, never has it so completely dominated a collection as it does here. To interrupt that flow feels counter intuitive.

This is an immensely wearable collection that is frequently surprising in its ornateness and attention to detail. I don’t know that it’s enough to lift the fabric from the confines of casual day wear, but it certainly deserves a tremendous amount of respect and space in your wardrobe.

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