If you took the word "skinhead" and lost a letter, you'd get "skihead." You'd also get Dsquared²'s new collection, born somewhere between the mean streets of London and the ski slopes of St. Moritz. Few designers understand the theatrical value of such a culture clash as well as the Caten twins. Against an ingenious set (a wintry Boystown with fire escapes, a tavern, and a blistering snowstorm), they staged a march-past of ski bums and ska boys: a red turtleneck with a racing stripe paired with yellow nylon pants vs a tight little black suit that was sheer Madness (the Nutty Boys' "One Step Beyond" was blaring at this particular point).
Such a reconciliation of extreme sportswear and extreme tailoring has become Dean and Dan's signature. And with nothing left to prove in that department, they've calmed downappliqués that would once have screeched a bent double entendre now declaim a more decorous "Dear Devils." But one thing that will never change is the Catens' eye for detail. The bleached denims, fitted little white shirts, and suspenders and boots were sheer skinhead (brazen brewskis, ciggies, and unsightly Winehouse tattoos were gilding on the lily). Likewise, at the other end of the "sportswear" spectrum, the ski jacket, snow boots, and sweater intarsia-ed with ski poles.
But despite the extravagance of the presentation, this show felt less camp than usual, perhaps because the Catens now offer so many reasons to be taken seriously. A down-filled black fur jacket, a gray flannel duffel, and a coat with articulated sleeves that artfully enhanced movement were all indications of their skill. And if fashion ever fails them, they could always turn to Broadway. Their showmanship would run and run.