If such a process as the homoeroticization of women really exists, Dean and Dan Caten put on a big show of it at Dsquared. What we saw was a standard male-on-male erotic fantasy (construction worker) projected onto a women¿s fashion collection. The foreplay was an acrobatic performance from a couple of bare-chested ¿workmen¿ who swung from ropes amid a mise-en-scène building site leading to a rough concrete runway.
Fair enough, as entertainment anyway. At this stage in the game a rough-trade burlesque is hardly offensive, but the prologue did provide a moment to ponder how exactly this is supposed to work as an enticement for women. If men who fancy men put the clothes they fancy men in on girlswhat¿s in it for the girls? As it turned out, it was the models¿ chance to swing a truncheon, don a harness, and, for a lucky couple, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk out in front of a couple of hundred people sporting black patent horse blinders (did they draw lots for that one backstage?).
Still, it would be making too much of it to say that anyone was particularly outragedor that that the theme even interfered much with the view of the Catens¿ range of clothing. The designers are good at selling fashioned-up jeanswear, and the construction-crew theme did give an excuse for showing their baggy, zippy cargo pants and biker jackets sexed up with deconstructed corsetry, their signature cropped jeans and a strong series of trend-hitting puffers in black, violet, cobalt, and hazard-yellow.
Somehow, by the end, the fantasy slewed off into a vaguely medieval heavy-metal zone. A black goat-hair coat had hunched shoulders so high they resembled wings, a tunic was armored with plastic shoulder plates, and a chain-mail tank dress (which might have started life as a security-fence idea) got shown over rockin¿ leather pants. Delivered to stores, Dsquared always looks well made and has a distinct character that has a following. Do customers need to appreciate how those clothes were spoofed-up on the runway to understand them? Of course not: The product speaks for itself. But sometimes you can¿t help wondering exactly what sort of club life goes on behind the gray façades of Milan to keep its resident designers thus inspired.