"Building blocks." That's how Prabal Gurung describes each piece at ICB, the Japanese contemporary label he joined a year ago as chief designer. "I want the first season to work with the current season, and so on," he calmly explained backstage at the brand's first runway show since his arrival.
For Fall, Gurung envisioned what his girlfriends in the East Village wear on a daily basis. "I was thinking about NYC, and real girls trying to find a solution to looking good in rain, wind, fall, winter," he said.
The collection was sensible, cool, and entirely complementary to Gurung's namesake line, albeit much more casual. (Not to mention more affordable.) Easy urban separates included a marled wool sculpted-sleeve sweater, a gray double-faced herringbone tank dress, and some really great outerwear, including a cutaway jacket and cocoon coat, both in loden-colored wool melton.
Gurung is known for his formalwear, but there was little of that here. Instead, he did flouncy dresses and tops in wool viscose, which worked well with the more structured outerwear. A swirly yellow and gray print—done best in a pair of floaty pants—was the most editorial thing in the collection. They're sure to pop up on market pages and in store windows come September.
Contemporary is an increasingly crowded market, and Gurung is fortunate that he has the support of major retailers such as Barneys. However, if he wants to create the same fervor around ICB that exists with his main collection—and the collections of competitors like Kenzo and Carven—the onus is on the designer to step it up a bit, maybe with more embellishment. Customers want a piece of Prabal, and he should bring it.