Interview with Dean and Dan Caten (DSquared2)
by Pablo Van Arsdalen and Milan Editor Laura De Rochas
Dan and Dean Caten grew up in Ontario, Canada, then moved to New York to study fashion at Parsons The New School for Design. Staying only one semester, they found financial backing for their first collection, and then moved to Milan, working for Versace and Diesel.
Today, they are, quite simply, some of the most consummate artists in the fashion world, with an almost appalling gift for color, texture, and detail, with a signature style that’s cheeky, daring, and always exciting.
Q: I have to admit I’m a big fan of your brand. In fact, I wore your “Sisters From Hell” T-shirt to last New York Fashion Week! I also own some pieces from your infamous “Homeless Collection,” as well as several pairs of jeans. One of my favorite things about the DSquared2 brand is its playfulness; almost a “sneakiness”: luxury wear disguised as street clothing, that just gives little hints to its pedigree. The T-shirt that looks like a heavy metal T-shirt. The belt buckle that looks like a smashed soda can. The brand-new shoes that look like an amazing thrift-store find. Where do these ideas come from? Is there a philosophy at play? Perhaps an homage to the artistry-of-everyday-clothing, or to “accidental” styles?
“Accidental and personal style” could be the proper answer. … And do you know why? It’s more a matter of personal interests, positive vibes and those funny ideas that we try to translate into fashion items. Creativity inspires and leads everything concerning our job. And it comes from everything surrounding us: that means music, people, places. Everything! No limits, no boundaries, no precise restrictions to the creativity.
No limits, no boundaries, no precise restrictions to the creativity.
Q: A lot of your designs are exaggerated versions of items that already exist; larger than life. Is part of your vision to distill the essence of a past style, or a particular look, and somehow put it on steroids? To create the ultimate — or idealized — version of it?
We just look around us … We just use imagination, personality and individual tastes. The essence of everything is simply our vision of fashion and beauty. We are inspired by the past and from everyday life. Our purpose is always to be innovative, and at the same time be in line with our D2 fashion codes.
The essence of everything is simply our vision of fashion and beauty.
Q: There’s also a lot of humor in your designs. A sense of fun that never takes itself too seriously: jeans made to accentuate the crotch. Or that appear to be on backward! Jeans with pen marks, as if worn down by an impatient student in a long class. They’re items that seem to have a back story. They also invite people to want to ask you about them; conversation starters.
Everyone should take themselves less seriously! We do that! Fun is our strength. We love our job, and we always try to make it in a positive atmosphere! Behind our collections, there are always playful moods and meanings.
Everyone should take themselves less seriously!
Q: Music seems to be an inspiration behind many of the looks. What music inspires you?
We do not have preferences … we love all kind of music! And we love to work with it. It is always been an important part of our work!
Q: What lies ahead for DSquared2? Any beginning ideas for next season, or are you content to rest for the moment?
We never stop … we rest for awhile, but we restart again as soon as possible. Next season? We never know exactly. It’s always a surprise … even for us!
Next season? It’s always a surprise … even for us!