“I took a pill and had a dream…”, Dean Caten hummed backstage before his show, trying to put the collection into words. The lyrics were Madonna’s and the song possibly egged on by yours truly following Dan Caten’s description of this season’s Dsquared2 woman: “She’s a spiritual traveller. She’s been looking out the window for too long.” The pandemic took its toll on the Caten brothers’ wanderlust. Their destinations may be more luxurious than the norm, but these designers are true nomads, on constant rotation between their homes in Milan and Cyprus and their favourite travel destinations from Mykonos to Brazil. Now, they’re back on the road.
It was wildly eclectic
“Anything goes,” Dan said of the look, a multi-layered, multi-patterned, multi-embellished collage of soulful and eclectic garments, which were swathed and wrapped around the bodies and heads of models in a manner you might call nomadic glamour. Hugely oversized jeans were overlaid with delicately embroidered skirts, as if fabric had simply been tied around the waist. Great big blankets were worn as capes, and formidable outerwear draped dramatically over elements borrowed from the men’s tailoring wardrobe. Knitwear ranged from polite jumpers to big patterned vests and jumpsuits in wildly graphic patterns.
It was a collage of cultural exchange
“He was hiking,” Dan noted, referring to last month’s men’s show, which saw a similar idea expressed more through the lens of extreme sportswear. “She is journeying.” The patchwork of patterns that made up Dsquared2’s looks reads distinctly cultural, but you couldn’t apply provenance to any of these motifs. Instead, they represented a universal idea of border-crossing, of exploring, of picking things up on your way. And while they may be luxury nomads today, relocating is something the Catens know well. The sons of Italian immigrants, the designers were raised in Canada before relocating to their roots in Italy and founding their brand.
The show included a message of peace
The freedom to travel – the harmony of cultural exchange – was put in a different light this week as Russia invaded Ukraine and images of people leaving their homes flooded news outlets. Through the week, Dan had been speaking continuously to his Ukrainian-Russian ex-boyfriend, who is like family to him and Dean, and experiencing first-hand the sadness of the situation, which affects so many people with family on each side of the border. It’s part of the reason the designers played The Beloved’s Sweet Harmony for the finale of their show. As Dan said of the gesture, “We’re not going to solve anything, but we’re peaceful people.”
Accessories were blown-up and tactile
The collection made a case for the animated accessories we’re seeing on many a runway this season: big, furry shoes and teddy-bear travel bags, textural talisman shoulder bags, and padded maxi-boots and exploded shearling moccasins. “She’s been comfortable for a while and she got used to it, and she’s chill and bohemian and she doesn’t give a fuck,” Dean said, describing the mood that also created those pieces. “It’s a positive message,” Dan added. “Peace and love and hippie.”