ICB is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and newly minted design director Makoto Takada is eager to further define the brand. Two decades in, why is that still a challenge? Because “20th anniversary” is a bit misleading. While the New York-based line, owned by Japanese retailer Onward Holdings, did indeed launch in 1995—with Michael Kors Outlet as head designer, no less—it was shut down in 2002, only to be resurrected 10 years later with Prabal Gurung running the show. Gurung departed late last year, although it wasn’t unexpected. He always spoke of ICB as being bigger than him: He was there to reestablish the brand”s identity, not make it his own.
That”s why Takada is such a good choice to lead ICB into the future. Two seasons in, he”s been able to take Gurung”s ideas and further refine them, adding a sprinkle of his own thing into the mix. For Fall he deconstructed the traditional ideas of winter dressing to great effect. The collection”s “sweater scarf,” for instance, was a crewneck sweater cut into a little cape that could be tied up around the shoulders. (It was worn over a white poplin shirtdress.) An alpaca ivory and charcoal coat was extra warm, thanks to a snap-in front placket that made it look like the model was wearing a matching minidress. And, while there were pieces in dyed rabbit and Kalgan lamb, there were also wool skirts and coats done in a trompe l”oeil to mimic the real thing. Takada was also eager to show off new fabrics the company has developed, including a crepe that is like a lightweight kimono fabric, and an air-infused material that”s akin to a lighter, more fluid neoprene.
Takada is enthusiastic about the work, and because of that, the clothes have a new energy. Saturday”s presentation, which took place in a studio that the team fixed up to look like a real-life New York City apartment, was notably cheery. Takada said they specifically tried to hire models that were friends so that the atmosphere felt congenial. “It”s really emphasizing who we are now,” he said.
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