The intelligent mix of Canadian wit and refined Italian tailoring together with attention to detail are the foundation of Dsquared2 philosophy which has given life to a unique concept of alternative luxury. Recently Dsquared2 collections have conquered a wider audience and- owing to their natural stylistic maturity- have become more chic while maintaining those sexy provocative traits so embedded in their creative roots. This evolution is also due to the continuous international inspiration received by Dean and Dan, who create their collections in Italy: ‘Born in Canada, made in Italy.’
Canadian twins Dean and Dan Caten began their career in fashion design at Parson’s School of Design, New York in 1984. Shortly, they debuted womenswear and leisure collections and were signed by fashion label Ports International as creative directors. In 1991 the duo moved to Milan and after working with celebrated fashion houses including Gianni Versace debuted a men’s collection in 1994 under the label, Dsquared². It immediately caught the attention of editors and buyers with its edgy mix of Canadian iconography, sleek Italian tailoring and playful sensuality… sporty and glamorous, laidback and extravagant… it was alternative luxury at its best.
The twins were on a roll with prolific collaborations in the music scene. Madonna commissioned them to design for “Drowned World Tour 2001” and “Don’t Tell Me” music video. Their runway showing in 2005 closed with Christina Aguilera stripping male models; in 2007 Rihanna walked for the twins in Milan; Dsquared² menswear show in Milan saw Bill Kaulitz descending from the ceiling in a caged elevator, in 2010. A heady mix of edu apparel and the right theatrics.
Retail expansion was the primary focus. Following the opening of their store in London, GQ editor Dylan Jones and Canadian High Commissioner Gordon Campbell hosted celebrations for the twentieth anniversary of Dsquared2. In 2007 Dsquared² flagship opened in Milan followed by stores in St. Moritz, Athens, Mykonos, Capri, Kyiv, Cannes, Singapore, Paris, Nicosia, Hong?Kong, Miami, Doha, LA, New York, Baku, Rome, Istanbul and Madrid.
The brothers told Forbes, ‘Italy is still our strongest market, then the rest of Europe, followed by Asia. We’re currently pushing our American retail, which is going really well. We opened a store in Miami a couple of weeks ago. And I think it’.s cool too that it took us twenty years before coming to America, ’cause at least when we got there we were polished… we’re at the mature age, to do mature things.’
Today the twins divide their lives between Milan and London, and Dsquared2 collections are made in Italy, hence the brand tagline, ‘Born in Canada, Made in Italy’. Their prolific awards include “Breakthrough Design Team” by GQ USA “Men of the Year” 2003; “Best Designers of the Year” by GQ Spain “Man of the Year” 2007; “Best Designers of the Year” by GQ Germany “Man of the Year” 2008 and Star on the Canada Walk of Fame in 2009. We see more accolades in the near future as the twins continue to evolve their aesthetic with changing consumer needs.
Per BoF, “But much of the “big energy” that drives the brand comes directly from the brothers themselves, who see the creative direction of the label — from its youthful focus on denim and bold slogans to its current embrace of more mature categories including elegant men’s tailoring and opulent gowns — as an extension of their own changing identities. “The evolution comes with time,” explained Dan. “When we started the company when we were young; we were in a different kind of headspace and the things we were doing… I mean, the company really reflects us and our lives. Always keeping ourselves in mind and tailoring to our own needs, the brand has just matured as we matured in age.””
The twins envision dressing people and give them the desired image of “va-va-voom sex appeal”. They have dressed a number of celebrities from Kanye West and Justin Bieber to George Clooney on the red carpet, designed stage-tour wardrobes for pop icons Britney Spears and Madonna, and had their “beautiful friend” Rihanna, among other stars, appear in their catwalk shows.
‘Born in Canada, Made in Italy’
DSquared2 has expanded from its origins in menswear into womenswear, accessories, childrenswear, eyewear and fragrances as well as a restaurant in Milan.
Dean and Dan Catenacci