12/09/2011 01:14 EST | Updated 12/09/2011 01:14 EST

Barbara Bui: French Designer's Tips For Stylish Women


Sporty, romanticism, ethnic prints and bright colours. We know you know these are major trends for Spring/Summer 2012. But what you may not know is that French designer Barbara Bui encapsulated all of these looks effortlessly in her latest line.

Bui's design aesthetic is a little bit rock-and-roll, but it's also feminine. She plays with materials and gives them a whole new appearance. She gives leather a fur-like texture and mixes quilted leather with mesh to create an uber-sleek pair of shorts (which reads athletic, but is girly at the same time).

Her designs suit a confident woman conscious of her own personal style yet is also willing to take a risk with combining trends. Bui knows the kind of woman she hopes to attract and designs pieces that will last more than a season.

We caught up with Bui at The Bay's Room in Toronto to discuss her line and grab a couple tips on women's style. Dressed in all black, she discussed (in her chic Parisian accent) topics ranging from South America to stretch denim.

What kind of woman do you design for?

"I'm always thinking about a woman who has a strong character, but also a lot of emotion and sensitiveness and who can share the two things. [This woman] can be completely involved with contemporary life, while at the same time manages to keeps her own spirit."

How do you want your clothing to make a woman feel?

"You can have very different lives. You can have a life just with your family or you can have a life at work. But it's all the same. That's why there's a kind of androgynous look [in the line], but there's also a lot of femininity. There is always a lot of quality with my clothing. You can [feel] strong when you wear something that's of good quality. I like very well-cut clothes."

You played with a lot of different materials for Spring/Summer 2012. What does that say about your design aesthetic?

"The mix of materials is very important. I'm well-known for leathers because they're very sensual and strong at the same time. This time, for the summer, I added sporty materials. It's always fun to research new materials and then discover something different as a customer. Especially when [a look is] very simple -- like a white or black jacket -- it's nice if the material is different than what you'd expect."

What's one thing every woman should have hanging in her closet?

"You should have a very good pair of stretch jeans or trousers because they're the kinds of pieces you can mix with everything. You can have a very strong jacket or blouse that you can wear with a simple knit or T-shirt. A good, strong pair of shoes is very important, too. When you wear a sexy, sophisticated shoe, you may only need to wear them as an accessory. They're even better than jewels sometimes."

What's the number one style rule that women should consider?

"You can wear anything, it just depends on the way you put things together and the way you look in the clothes. Generally speaking, I think it's best to find the most natural way to do your makeup or your hair. If you're too sophisticated, it's a cliche. It's very nice to wear very structured pieces in everyday life; you don't have to be going to a party to wear [them]."

Here are a few looks from Bui's Spring / Summer collectiion. Let us know what you think of them on Twitter.

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Bui S/S 2012
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