Japanese company Onward Kashiyama launched ICB with designer Michael Kors in 1995, a time when what we now know as the contemporary market went by the less than alluring term "bridge." Before shuttering the label in 2002, it had gone through phases of being designed by a studio team as well as by Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren.
But this season ICB, which stands for International Concept Brand, is returning, with Prabal Gurung at its helm. It's an interesting time for ICB, now that there are far more contemporary labels that have a distinctly designer point of view, from Carven to Phillip Lim.
Gurung, in a preview, called his debut "just fashion-y enough," an assessment with which we'd have to agree. What stood out most were the fab prints, some abstracted ikats in silk dresses and pants, and a baroque-looking brushstroke motif that was close to the ones Gurung showed in his last two collections. Little was basic. Even the tailoring wasn't played safe, snagging visual punch from acid-bright colors or sculpted shapes.
Dark wool coats trimmed with fur, or cable knits with split hems, were strong, but are the kind of pieces that many designers show. But here you saw recognizable hits of Gurung in dip-dyed lace blouses and lace print dresses that closed show—the first digital-only affair.
Gurung described his customer as "the girl who has an interest in fashion but not necessarily the means." But everyone loves a nice price and there will surely be an audience broader than that. What's encouraging is that this isn't meant to be a fleeting collaboration. "When they hired me, it was a long-term strategic plan," said Gurung. "We want to build it carefully and slowly." It was a good start. ICB? How about: I Could Buy or I Covet Badly.