Here Come The Calendar Cats-------
Meet the new faces of 2011: Poncho, Ziggy, Shuvel Face. Those were some of the fancy felines on hand yesterday as United Bamboo shot its second annual cat calendar. Miniature versions of the line’s looks from Fall ’10, Resort ’11 and the upcoming Spring ’11 collections hung on one wall of the United Bamboo studio, as half a dozen kitties stalked the space, clad in bow blouses and peacoats. “We have to remake all the patterns, obviously,” explained United Bamboo founder Miho Aoki, as she dodged the aptly named cat Bamboo. “But it’s OK, because our patternmaker has a cat, so she gets into it.”
Speaking of getting into things, some of the model cats were more psyched than others to be outfitted and appareled. Bamboo, for example, once she’d finished wrestling with a feather on a stick, seemed more than fine with the idea of clothes. In fact, she might have been waiting her whole life for this big break into fashion. Elsewhere, there was much hissing and spitting. More than 100 cats were submitted for the casting; according to Aoki, the United Bamboo team picked the “cutest ones,” with an emphasis on longhairs. “We didn’t bring them in or anything. We just judged by the pictures.” Aoki and partner Thuy Pham made the wise decision to bring in more cats than necessary—22 were called, 12 made the cut. (That’s double the cat fun from the 2010 edition.)
Of course, United Bamboo’s forays into cat fashions have been timely: Word leaked about the 2010 calendar around the same time that Miu Miu was showing kitty prints on the runway, and since then it’s been a feline free-for-all in the industry, what with cat-eye sunglasses and kitten heels. (Click here to check out a slideshow of our favorite variations on the theme.) We’d like to say we called this first—and we stand by our kitty overlords prediction—but Aoki was way, way ahead of us. As she explained, she first made cat clothes more than ten years ago, when she got her cat. “I thought it would be funny, to dress up a cat,” she said. It is.
Sketches for United Bamboo’s cat outfits.