French brands have dominated the fashion industry for decades, setting trends and becoming the muse for designers across the world. Barbara Bui is one of the most popular Parisian brands, launched in 1987 as a luxury ready-to-wear label by Barbara Bui.
The brand is synonymous with its rock music aesthetic, blurring gender norms with silhouettes that are neither feminine nor masculine.
The epitome of rock chic, Barbara Bui is synonymous with rock music aesthetic inspired by bands and rockstars like Mick Jagger and The Beatles (Credit: INFphoto)
Barba Bui defines her style as being “all about attitude. A woman should feel good in her clothes, not in disguise. She should be comfortable enough to express herself freely, without the constraints of an overly trendy piece.”
The brand’s contemporary take on femininity and clean lines has earned it a place as one of Paris’ most exciting fashion brands.
Explore this unique blend of rock energy and ultra-femininity by adding Barbara Bui to your closet.
We’re sharing everything you need to know about Barbara Bui and answering the most popular questions about the French brand.
Who is Barbara Bui?
Barbara Bui was born in Paris to a French mother and a Vietnamese father, with her heritage becoming part of her design DNA.
She had no formal training in art or design; instead, she studied for a master’s degree in English Literature. Bui describes going from writing words to writing “with shapes, colors, and lines.”
Barbara Bui is a French fashion designer who has a Master’s degree in English literature and a background in theater (Credit: Abaca Press / startraksphoto)
She opened her first shop – ‘Kabuki’ – in partnership with actor William Halimi in 1983, primarily focusing on Halimi’s work as the shop contained his workshop.
Bui presented her debut collection at Paris Fashion Week in 1987, with her first signature store opening in 1988. The brand presented its first collection at New York Fashion Week in 1999.
Bui’s designs focus on an elegant rock aesthetic, with her being added as a member of the French Federation of Sewing and Fashion Designers in 2003.
Barbara Bui’s earlier collections, as seen in her Spring/Summer 2010 fashion presentation, focus on elegant rock aesthetic (Credit: TONY GUY / startraksphoto)
Barbara won the Crystal Globe for ‘Best Fashion Designer’ from the French Press Association for Arts and Culture in 2013. The self-taught designer explains that “what I express through my clothes is what I would have expressed in my books.”
Barbara Bui launched her first menswear collection in 2019 as a “cool wardrobe for a man that accepts his sensitivity.”
The brand’s latest collection focuses on denim, with “every wardrobe piece reinvented with a signature cool-chic look,” maintaining Bui’s classic contemporary silhouettes.
Barbara Bui’s latest collection focuses on denim with the label’s signature cool-chic look
What is Barbara Bui Known For?
The eponymous brand found almost instant success, launching on the Paris Stock Exchange within a decade of its first store opening.
Barbara Bui launched a range of accessories, including handbags and footwear, in 2000. David Bailey, an acclaimed photographer for bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, oversaw the advertising campaign for the debut collection.
Barbara Bui is synonymous with its rock music aesthetic, reimagining classic men’s pieces with a feminine twist. Its early clientele included musicians and actors who quickly built its public profile.
A decade after presenting her debut collection, Barbara Bui expanded her line to include accessories, such as bags and shoes
Among Bui’s most famous collections is the ‘Atame’ range of silver jewelry inspired by snakes and chains.
The brand has followed the trend of launching collaborations since 2013, working with Chinese artist Huang Zhiang in 2014 and Blenda Eggenschwiler and Caroline Vreeland in 2016.
70s rock remains the designer’s primary inspiration, reinterpreting popular rock imagery and taking inspiration from musicians like Mick Jagger.
Black is the brand’s dominant color palette as its designs often play with paradoxes, contrasting fabrics and creating silhouettes that are neither feminine nor masculine.
1970s rock music remains Barbara Bui’s major inspiration, with black as its dominant color (Credit: Barbara Bui)
Barbara Bui is a brand that’s been steadily on the rise for the last decade, gaining momentum as it finds a new following amongst millennials.
Ownership of Barbara Bui
William Halimi, Bui’s husband and original business partner, holds a 39.70% stake in the company, while Barbara Bui maintains a 19.40% stake.
The brand is now a private company with a board of directors. Barbara Bui continues to lead the brand’s design identity and creative ventures.
Barbara Bui is a private company with a board of directors, and Barbara Bui herself continues to lead the brand’s design identity and creative ventures (Credit: Tony DiMaio / startraksphoto)
William Halimi currently sits as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Barbara Bui, while the designer is Director and Deputy Chief Executive Office. Linda Halimi and David Bihi-Zenou jointly serve as directors of the company.
Where to Find Barbara Bui Stores
Barbara Bui opened its first store in Rue Etienne Marcel in Paris in 1988, followed by flagship stores at 50 Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Milan, and New York. The brand is available in 16 cities across the world.
How to Pronounce Barbara Bui
Barbara Bui is pronounced as “bar-bra bwee”.
Where are Barbara Bui Products Made?
Most Barbara Bui products appear to be made in Europe. The brand’s official website does not list the manufacturing origins of its ready-to-wear, but its handbags and accessories, including footwear, are made in Italy.
It’s worth noting that most Barbara Bui products are made in French sizing.
Barbara Bui moved its production from Asia to Europe in 2011, with its bags, accessories, and footwear being manufactured in Italy
Barbara Bui moved the brand’s production from Asia to Europe in 2011 to boost its sales and quality, even when the brand was making only a small net profit.
The success of Barbara Bui since the transition to European manufacturing and a focus on integrating minimalism into its DNA has helped it grow a stronger brand identity.
How Expensive is Barbara Bui?
Barbara Bui is a womenswear and accessories luxury brand. You can expect to pay around $1,000 to $1,500 for Barbara Bui ready-to-wear, while the average Barbara Bui bag retails for $800.
Barbara Bui offers a wide range of laidback, contemporary silhouettes, typically suits and dresses that retail for between $600 and $1,200 per item.
You can also find Barbara Bui pieces at a discount during the brand’s seasonal sale, mainly for ready-to-wear pieces.
Barbara Bui products range from $600 to $1,500 for ready-to-wear, bags, and footwear
Embrace your inner ‘70s rock chic with Barbara Bui. The brand has remained true to its Parisian roots with timeless pieces in transitional color palettes that will live in your closet for years to come.