At first, United Bamboo's fall show seemed headed perilously close to territory previously charted by Balenciaga's Nicolas Ghesquière, with its play on A lines and circular volume, and Koos van den Akker-esque paneled inserts of different fabrics on shoulders and sleeves. But what emerged in the end was something rather more original.

The inspiration for this collection, revealed Thuy Pham—he designs the line in conjunction with Miho Aoki—was Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 movie Solaris. "We wanted to reference science fiction," said Pham backstage, "but not to be too literal. We contrasted the geometric, sculptural look of the clothes with natural wools and tweeds." Their approach worked best with the gray wool jersey dresses layered with gray tops, one of which was adorned with panels of bright lime, pink, and blue; militaristic flannel minidresses, one in camel, the other in black; and a soft, yet severe, pleated shirt and skirt that looked like it would have passed muster with the Politburo.

What really intrigued, though, was an influence that seemed to come from closer to home. Those zippers that etched the body? That intricate, eye-catching contrast of fabrics? Traces, perhaps, of the work of the late Geoffrey Beene, making contact with a whole new generation.