"You know, we just wanted to make real clothes," designer Thuy Pham said with a shrug after the United Bamboo show today. "Like, the kind of thing people could wear to work or whatever." Pham's matter-of-factness seemed appropriate, considering the collection he and United Bamboo co-designer Miho Aoki sent down the runway today: crisp cotton and silk shirting, frilled here and there with girlish detail. Clean, almost-basic leather jackets and skirts. Dress-up/dress-down high-waisted trousers, wispy silk dresses, and linen shorts. Microdots. Chambray. Barely there stripes. Lots and lots of neutrals. As Pham said, he and Aoki weren't trying to reinvent
the wheel this season. But there were a lot of niceties that shoppers will
appreciate, such as the contrast collar on a striped blouse, or the flutter
of fabric on the sleeve of a drop-waist, printed maxi.
And then there were pieces that made you think Pham might have been underselling the ambition here. A pair of gauzy gray harem pants, for instance, had a particular volume and movement that suggested a lot of care had gone into their construction. And a blazer toward the close of the show that had an internal crisscross-strap closure turned out, on inspection, to be comprised of two different patterns, front and back, that had been made to conform to one another. Pham owned up: "I was looking at this old Miyake stuff; it was something on YouTube," he said. "But that stuff was pretty crazy. I wanted to see if you could take those ideas and do them in, I guess, a more reasonable way."