The signature sporty but extravagant style of design duo DSquared2 has been a flamboyant fixture on the fashion scene for more than 20 years. Helmed by twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten, the label is home to a melting pot of contrasts, which for autumn/winter 2016 saw military might meld with Victoriana and elements of samurai warrior to produce another bold, distinctly individual collection.
Born and raised in Toronto by their English mother and an Italian father (who shortened his name from Catenacci to Caten to help the family settle into their adopted home), the brothers moved to New York aged 19 to study fashion at the Parson’s School of Design. But they dropped out after just one semester and returned to Toronto, where they took up positions as junior designers at Canadian label Ports International. Then in 1991, after working their way up to joint head designers, they moved to Milan, keen to explore their Italian roots.
Following collaborations with some of Italy’s most celebrated fashion houses, and subsequently securing financial backing from Diesel founder and president Renzo Rosso, the Caten’s launched their own label DSquared2, which was initially conceived as a premium denim brand. But the company’s success enabled the duo to expand and move into men’s and then womenswear, where their motto “Born in Canada, Living in London, Made in Italy” is clearly reflected in their unique, eclectic aesthetic.
In Milan last week, we were treated to another mash-up of multiple references. Sporty, combat-style pants, cropped to just below the knee, camouflage print and cartridge strap detailing lent the collection its military flavour, which was also evidenced by the use of regimental-style piping on more tailored pieces.
A warrior theme was also woven into the mix, with samurai-style beading and embroidery adorning both clothing and accessories, not forgetting the giant tribal tassels swinging from the models’ ears.
And then there was the ode to Victoriana. A high-necked blouse in soft pink silk, trimmed with antique lace, and black tulle skirt with trailing ties were among the many pieces that infused the collection with DSquared2’s distinctive femininity, and provided that essential delicate contrast.
But undoubtedly the key pieces of the collection were the exotic outerwear. Models were swathed in magnificent fur-paneled coats and parkas, also given the tribal treatment, embellished with beautiful beading and embroidery as well as shimmering sequins, of course. Cold weather dressing for the DSquared2 winter warrior has never looked so glamorous.