It’s almost too easy to pass over ICB when talking about major labels during New York Fashion Week. The brand is not particularly popular, and in its 20 years of business, it’s been shuttered stateside for 10 of them. Even past creative directors like Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung have done little to change its notoriety in the US over the years. But newly appointed design director Makoto Takada is hoping this season’s Fall 2015 line will have more of an impact. Unfortunately for him, it looks like it's going to be an uphill battle.
This is Takada’s second season at ICB. In two collections he hasn’t strayed far from the path that Gurung carved out for the brand, and so far it’s been working out well for him. Integrating previous design aesthetics with his own have allowed him to produce fairly stylish pieces. But to say they’re attention-grabbing, unique, and iconic of the brand is a vast overstatement. This season he’s deconstructed knitwear (which was perhaps a bit too reminiscent of Gurung) and added some bright color, but it wasn’t enough to give the collection the punch it really needed.
The collection feels restrictive. Despite being filled with basics, most of the collection seems to stop just short of pushing the envelope—a silhouette is cut just a little too loose or a hem is cut too long. Some looks stand out—a white sweater dress with braided cross-sash is a particular favorite—but other pieces haven’t quite matured to the same level. While it doesn’t surprise or thrill, it doesn’t really offend either and would be a safe (and unfortunately, uninteresting) addition to anyone’s closet.