Dean and Dan Canten

Squaring off with fashion

Literally separated at birth, identical twins Dean and Dan Caten—the two D’s that comprise the design dynamo team Dsquared2—practically started designing together while still in the womb. Proving that two minds are better than one when it comes to designing, their secret to success is not taking fashion too seriously. Their uniquely irreverent humor is woven throughout their collections juxtaposing opposing ideas such as sexy and proper, a theme from their Fall 2008 campaign, much like Prada’s Spring 2000 “Belle du Jour” collection. Since their 25 years in business together, they have produced collections that are extravagant and glamorous, sexy and smart, everything a modern woman aspires to embody and achieve through fashion. Here, SOMA speaks to Dan Caten, the more outspoken of the two.

What is it like to design with your twin brother?
We love it! We are very much in tune with each other and at the same time we are two different creative people bringing inputs and ideas to give birth to new collections. Besides, it’s reassuring to know that you can trust someone blindly.

When did you both realize that you wanted to become fashion designers?
We learnt we wanted to be fashion designers at a very young age. We can say it was our biggest dream since we were children. When we moved to NY to attend the Parson’s School of Design, a teacher once said: if you are not willing to breathe, eat, live fashion then get out of here. We just looked at each other and realized that was our place.

What do you think is missing in fashion?
The fun is missing lately. Everybody is too focused on sales and garments that need to be saleable rather than creative and innovative.

What do you think is the “next big thing” in fashion?
The extinction of PR!!! (Being sarcastic towards the poor press office…!)

What trend in fashion do you think should just die forever?
The only trend that we wish could die forever is counterfeiting of fashion brands and people’s habit to buy counterfeited garments and accessories.

What is sexy to you?
Women’s ability to walk on high heels is sexy….we are obsessed with stilettos!
What country do you think has the greatest creative pulse and sense of fashion?
It depends…. Travelling around the world we notice that, in our opinion, Italy is still number one for classical tailored menswear, while London is the leader for stylish street. Nevertheless Berlin and Tokyo are also very inspiring and innovative cities.

Who would you consider your muse?
Our mother has always been our muse…. she is feminine and effortlessly elegant and self-assured: exactly what we want the Dsquared2 woman to be.

What is the inspiration behind your Fall/Winter collection?
The Fall/Winter 2008–2009 is about a proper English lady who discreetly sneaks out the backdoor of a bourgeois house for an afternoon affair. Her sexual erotic desire is masked by her ladylike appearance.

To what do you attribute your irreverent, tongue in cheek sense of humor that is woven throughout your collections?
We have the fortune to have been born with a great sense of humor that allows us to take our job and ourselves not too seriously.

What are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve designed?
We would say a piece from our Demolition Deluxe collection: it is a suede shoulder cigarette holder with two coon tails hanging. Madonna wore it on the cover of Interview magazine. But we also love our jeans splashed with (fake) mud. And yes, the sexy leather blinders we designed for our Fall/Winter 2007–2008 women’s collection.

Do you have any future collaborations coming up?
We are keeping up with the well-established and successful collaboration with Juventus Football Club for which we just designed the 2008–2009 football season uniforms. Though we are working on new diversified collaborations with some rock stars but can’t tell you more for now!

-Hillary Latos

Reading by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Dean Caten.

1. This is a remarkably “human” person. Highly verbal–thinks in words, not pictures and is a skillful tool user.

2. Although he will speak with great liberalness and espouse very open-minded ideals, he will nonetheless tend to live in quite a traditional way. The open-mindedness is more about what others do than what he prefers to do.

3. Excellent health, extremely and unusually long life. You can leave this guy out in the rain—he will not rust. Looks to be made out of titanium!

4. Clean and clear in love, but will need to find a partner with a dominant personality who will do what he says! Kudos to his partner–this is not an easy one!

5. Vastly loyal to his friends, family and tribe and monogamous by nature.

6. Has a great need for privacy…. If not given enough privacy, he might end up in a monastery or in solitary confinement in prison—it is a need, not a preference!

7. There is a tendency to take well-calculated risks throughout life. Not a daredevil—will be sure of his odds before jumping out of the airplane—but WILL jump.

8. Would never intentionally hurt another living being. He would consider it most uncivilized to do so.