Ever since Madonna wore a pair of mud-splattered Dsquared² jeans in her 2000 video for "Don't Tell Me," designers Dean and Dan Caten, the only pair of Canadian identical twins to helm an Italian fashion house, have routinely dressed some of the world's biggest pop stars. Their clients need no last names: Christina, Justin, Mariah, Fergie, and Rihanna, to name-drop a few.
While the twins describe their aesthetic as "a taste of home, where the Canadian woods meet Italian design," L.L.Bean this is not. Naughty, campy, and with what Women's Wear Daily refers to as "va-va-voom sex appeal," Dsquared² keeps its arsenal of celebrity clients happy with look-at-me designs like ultra-low cropped jeans and titillating skin-baring dresses with plenty of lace and sparkle.
And then, there are those famously kitschy shows that keep the industry wondering how the twins will outdo themselves each season. For the launch of its womenswear collection in 2003, supermodels descended from a pink private jet. Spectacles since then have included a western-themed hoedown complete with a windmill and a live horse, and a construction worker romp where the participants swung from ropes against a building site backdrop. Some of the extravaganzas work better than others, but rarely do they obscure the Catens' knack for turning out well-tailored basics.
The buzz-generating party boys hail from Ontario, Canada. After a stint at Parsons in New York and a subsequent job designing at a Canadian label, they set out for Italy determined to make it in Milan. In 1994, they launched a men's line at a Paris trade show with $35,000 in savings. After taking $250,000 in orders, the Caten boys were in business. Today, Dsquared² also includes accessories, footwear, and the men's and women's fragrances He Wood and She Wood.
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May 18, 2009 12:00AM