Monday, February 04, 2013

“Take the D train”

Puttin’ on the ritz with Dean and Dan’s latest extravaganza at Milan fashion week

We all know and gush over Canadian fashion veterans, since the mid-80’s, Dean and Dan Caten. The Toronto-native twins have been involved with Milan fashion week for more than the last decade. This year represents a new era for the brothers behind ‘Dsquared²’ as we watched their Fall/Winter 2013-14 Menswear collection strut down the runway. And boy was it spiffy!
This season, the Caten brothers took men’s fashion from its Toronto roots and threw it into the swanky Parisian jazz clubs in the 1940’s. The show ‘Nouvelle Noir’ consisted of a cast of all black male models attired in a series of urban chic meets jazz club sleek garments. Accompanying the elegant and sophisticated clothes was a preshow video of some back stage moments set to jazz music. Also, the backdrop was constructed into a Parisian club in the 1940’s featuring models playing saxophones, a vintage piano complete with une chanteuse.
            When it comes to a runway show, menswear often takes a seat in the row behind womenswear. The press has a longstanding affair with elaborate gowns, which tickles feminine fashion fantasies for both men and women. This affair tends to give womenswear front row seats for the press. With the last runway show, ‘Dsquared²’ has implemented a theatrical presence in menswear shows, perhaps giving them a new face. From the preshow video, the saxophones and the music, the theatrical aspects of this Fall/Winter show allow the audience to truly understand the inspiration and origins of the designs. This enhances the sheer appreciation for the garments and the story behind them. Once the audience can understand the designer’s insight to the collection they will eventually configure an interest in the possible theatrics and magic that is often overlooked in menswear collections. There was very little, if anything, in the show that could have left a bad taste in the mouth of the audience. This was one of the first shows the Caten brothers have orchestrated that has predominately tailored garments. They wanted the show to have a “chic, sleek and sexy” feel as they stated in an interview. The garments consisted of tailored jackets; suits partnered with a few sets of casual jean and sweater combinations. The outfits were accessorized with two-tone dapper hats and stylish scarves. This new style projected by the Caten brothers is a fantastic platform for a fresh and new level of designing for the ‘Dsquared²’ label.
            Dean and Dan have proven themselves as innovative and creative thinkers with their latest theatrical and sophisticated menswear runway show. If they continue to parade down this road with such a presence in their shows, they could be looking at a revolutionary step towards grabbing a more pronounced interest in menswear. So the question now arises for the Caten brothers, could they pave the way for Canadian designers taking credit in menswear accepting the same media attention as womenswear this year and in future years to come?

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