From the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" cover on the soundtrack to the final pair of leggings, United Bamboo's fall presentation embraced the eighties revival wholeheartedly, a little too much so at times. The real starting point for this collection, though, was Miho Aoki and Thuy Pham's new interest in menswear. They showed men's looks alongside the women's for the first time, and later this year they are debuting a store for gents in Tokyo. That meant, according to Pham, that "the womenswear was designed to go with the men's."
The male influence (specifically, the designers had "dandy street kids" and the style of post-punk Brit singers like the Jam's Paul Weller and Echo and the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch in mind) was felt in the choice of fabrics and the styling. A houndstooth jacket and pants had a mannish, eighties-style, dress-for-success feeling. The show's focus also led to some untenable items. Suspendered pouf skirts, for example, showed more attention to theme than wearability.
There was a concerted effort to play with volume throughout. Spring's sweet bib-front dresses were transformed for fall into baggy oversize ones, including a standout black number worn by Michaela. And among the highlights of the show were the opening bubble coats. Dramatic in their shape, heft, and texture, they filtered in a modern way the work of Cristobal Balenciaga and the Japanese designers who first showed in Paris in the (real) eighties.