The original motive behind United Bamboo, the 7-year-old line from Miho Aoki and Thuy Pham, was to interpret preppy American classics through the perspective of an arch observer. It's an obsession they've never truly abandoned, but now, there are broader influences thrown into the mix. For instance, Pham names Le Corbusier's design of the Indian city Chandigarh as their current fixation, and the architect's drawings were featured on patchwork tees. Pham's quick to add, however, that "nothing is literal," which neatly sums up the appeal of the line.
With their typical sweetened cynicism, the show opened with a white tennis dress subverted with vibrant zipperssome functional, others notwhich, along with buckles, were a recurring motif. That summer Kennebunk favorite, seersucker, was toughened up and turned into a motorcycle jacket, and its slightly brawny vibe was present throughout (particularly with the creepersreworked with flat, pointy soleswhich were big crowd-pleasers). A bibbed tuxedo-style shirtdress with a dropped hem was a nod to the Gatsby era and was equal parts masculine and feminine. These hard/soft, greaser/soc contrasts were most successful in the first half of the show. Later, the African and ribbon-latticed dresses seemed overly decorative and diverted from Aoki and Pham's real strength: seditious versions of country club classics.