The Canadian-born, Italian-based twin designers Dan and Dean Caten of the label DSquared2 began their latest tour of America this week, celebrating the opening of their new store in SoHo before heading to Miami to open another one there. As you might expect, after visiting their two-story funhouse on West Broadway, filled with tailored suits and neon-feathered skirts, sweatshirts and weekender bags, their lively dinner at Indochine drew an exuberant mix of models and some extreme fashion enthusiasts.
Models love these guys. Chanel Iman said she practically grew up with them. Toni Garrn, Daphne Groeneveld, Irina Shayk, Fei Fei Sun, and Jasmine Tookes grabbed them for pictures. I practically had to pry Dean Caten out of a bear hug with Tyson Beckford for a few words.
A martini arrived.
“That looks too dirty for me,” he said. “I’ll have a cosmopolitan.”
After 20 years in business, the Catens haven’t lost either their touch or their distinctive personalities. By his own description, Dean is the frivolous one. Dan is the responsible one. They have kept each other going on this track for so long that they are now enjoying the rewards of their labors, having opened a restaurant and lounge in their Milan headquarters, enormous stores in London and Paris, and now new U.S. locations, all while keeping things, how shall we say, light.
“We are not corporate guys,” Dean Caten said. “We’re not embarrassed by fun. I have no phobia of wearing high heels or dancing on a table.”
Oh, he can be serious too. Talking about the stores, Caten noted how DSquared2 built a visual and merchandising team, and expanded with enough product so that customers can better understand their world. “I’m not trashing department stores,” he said, “but they have small spaces. If they buy one tuxedo jacket, a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, it looks confusing for a customer. Finally, it’s welcome to our way. We do A to Z.”