January 15, 2007
Dystopia is a subtext of the current season in Milan, and with typical directness, Dean and Dan Caten have headed straight for the ground zero of societal collapse: Thunderdome. That, at least, was the framework of their show. The actual content cleaved pretty close to the style they have made their own, described succinctly by one of their key U.S. retailers as "designer Abercrombie." Translation: sportswear with bells onand pockets and zips and straps and hoods, and a few more pockets and zips for good measure. New this season was an element of protection. It was most obvious in knee pads, elbow pads, and arm guards, but it was most striking as a chain-mail waistcoat under a black leather jacket and a bulletproof vest elegantly blended into a tuxedo. (In the future, everyone rich will wear one for 15 minutes.) The Caten design signature is now more than a little familiar, of course, but the twins are always slipping a twisted little something underneath the radarwho could ever have imagined a day when they'd serve up a loden pea coat? Still, what stood out in this collection was the label's mastery of stylish utility-wear: A yellow nylon blouson, a red puffer, or an Air Force blue jacket (pair any one of them with the zipped oilskin pants) would stand Chicken Little in good stead when the sky actually does start falling.