Dean and Dan Caten have always been fashion's most entertaining double act, propelled by barbed tongues, drag hilarity, and an appetite for camp so unholy it has often obscured just how much they've actually achieved. "We sold almost 5,000 suits last season," crowed Dean on a walk round their massive Milan headquarters yesterday. Via Ceresio 9 is a temple to their ambition. It's where they have consolidated all their activities: floor after floor of everything relating to the design, production, and promotion of fashion, and then, on the roof, a pleasure dome as stately as anything decreed by Kubla Khan, with his-and-his swimming pools. Wait, didn't Andy Warhol turn a building into the expression of an aesthetic? Snap! The Dsquared² men's Spring show was called Stud2io. It was the twins' twist on Warhol's Factory, and it marked a timely move away from the increasingly overwrought psychodramas that were becoming such a drag (and not in a good way).
Not that this morning's show wasn't a spectacle in the grand Caten tradition. It was just more er restrained, though how can you say such a thing about a presentation whose soundtrack began with Edie Sedgwick trembling on the edge of a breakdown, and whose passing parade came to a close with a ludicrously perfect male specimen in the merest suggestion of a hot-pink Speedo? But in reality, the Catens taking on a Warhol subtext lent their collection a solid through-line, with enough graphic high points to merit a show-of-the-day gong. Warhol was the Pope of Pop, and the twins grabbed his brightly colored ball and ran with it all the way to the pink Speedo. The artist's candy-colored camo patterned a nylon shorts suit; his cat drawings provided the motif of a buy-it-now sweatshirt (fuzzy inside out). Who's to say there wasn't wit in a gray marl T-shirt that read "ANDY" where you'd usually expect to see "ARMY"? Warhol acolyte Stephen Sprouse's graffiti prints and fluoros were winningly co-opted by the Catens, but when imitation comes from a place of love, again, who are we to judge?
Incidentally, the Adonis in the Speedo posed center stage, life-class-style, for the entire show. And that is at least one thing Andy would have respected in the Catens: Their reverence for the male body beautiful.