On the close of Men’s Fashion Month we looked back at the whirlwind of the Fall 2019 collections noticing a few standouts worth diving into. One of the strongest collections to come out of Milan was Dan and Dean Caten’s modern mash-up at Dsquared2 the melded snowboarding, 80s metal graphics, tie-dye, grunge, and Madonna. Chief Impressionist Kenneth Richard hopped on a call to chat with the dynamic duo about the collection, its inspiration, teaming with Giovanni Bianco, and hitting the slopes.
Kenneth Richard: Gentlemen, congratulations on your recent stellar outing! Hella of a collection and everyone is talking about it. You threw me as the invite lead me to believe I was going to see an ode to heavy metal and you went all out nouveau-gunge ala Madonna. What were some of the inspirations behind the collection? Dan & Dean Caten: Thank you so much! It was amazing working on the FW19 collection. So much fun and so much energy!
You got the point! The idea behind the collection was definitely to let the guests live within a performance not just a fashion show. We had to give a nod to the queen of pop whose early 80s tracks are the blaring beats of the show.
We felt that the Dsquared2 Autumn Winter 2019 collection is dedicated to rock stars that are climbing mountains and the stage style looks are built for adventurous expeditions.
Kenneth Richard:Can see that snowboarder influence, as Canadian’s you’ve likely embraced snow. With your crazy schedule do you two ever get a chance to head north of Milan for a little shredding? Dan & Dean Caten:We love snowboarding! You know what? Snowboarding makes us feel like kids again!
We use to go to Cervinia in the North of Italy. It is such a lovely place where we have found our “snowboarder family”. We try to spend at least two weekends during the winter season hitting the slopes.
Kenneth Richard: Will have to jump up there one season. So back to the show, you went a different direction this season, no seating, elevated stage, party like setting. How did you approach the event differently than shows in the past and why the change up? Dan & Dean Caten: This season we had a new direction because of the collection mood and inspirations. We always try to think differently and to experiment with new concepts.
Kenneth Richard:Which leads us to the invitation itself, how did that come together? Dan & Dean Caten:Once we identified the concept of everything, the “VIP PASS INVITATION” was the most spontaneous and appropriate decision.
Kenneth Richard: Makes sense and leads us to the music. What do you listen to when designing and is that included in the show? Dan & Dean Caten: Music has a very relevant role in our life and job. We gain great inspiration from music. When we work we listen to the music and it always ends up playing a key role in our fashion show and events.
We think that music is everything. Music belongs to our background and it makes everything special and intense. Music changes our moods and transfers the good vibes into our creativity.
Kenneth Richard: You’ve been one of the major labels that have shifted to unisex showings, however rather than jump into the women’s week, as everyone else did, you stuck to men’s. A zig to their zag. What did you need to do to convince everyone in your camp that this was the right move? Dan & Dean Caten:We reached the decision to present the collections co-ed to further connect the Dsquared2 man to the Dsquared2 woman; which often share common creative inspirations.
We have always thought that the fashion system itself needs to be as fluid and modern as the changes that it perpetrates on the runway. This new approach comes naturally to us, because we always design the Dsquared2 man with the Dsquared2 woman in mind and vice versa.
Kenneth Richard:Another modern move that has interested me is your space and the restaurant. The team has been kind enough to do lunch meetings with us when we fly through Milan. Fascinated about the brand extension as many houses would have been fearful of taking on that type of business. What has that business taught you about breaking out of the confines of tradition? Dan & Dean Caten: Ceresio 7 Restaurant represents with Ceresio 7 Gym & Spa and Ceresio 7 Guest House our idea to develop a 360 Dsquared2 experience. The Restaurant was the first step. We used to travel a lot and we tried to combine and mix our preferences with all the beautiful things we see around the world. We thought to re-create something special and warm for the potential guests here in Milan that we love so much.
A place where to enjoy the new Skyline of the City, being comfortable and taking in a more international atmosphere.
Kenneth Richard:So let’s talk marketing. First, Giovanni Bianco! Your three are pretty great together. How did you three meet? Dan & Dean Caten:Giovanni Bianco is The Creative! He is great expert in the industry and a good friend too. We always love to work with him as he is so talented, smart and fun. We met him at work and we have a very longstanding relationship.
Kenneth Richard:What typically are your first steps when plotting a new campaign? Dan & Dean Caten: We start from the inspirations of the collection. Then, we create a story around it. It is a brainstorming session between us, photographers and art direction.
Kenneth Richard:So campaigns today have to be thought about differently than yesterday due to where stories are told. How do you approach the digital age when telling stories now? Dan & Dean Caten:We try to be Dsquared2 – digitally speaking – in the most creative and “touchable” way. This means being stuck on our roots but offering a fresh and innovative perspective of them. Thinking outside the box is always the best solution.
Kenneth Richard:Reminds me of your video series. Find it really refreshing how unedited you too are on camera. It really feels behind-the-scenes and is very sincere. Did you have any reservations about full access, documentary style reportage? Dan & Dean Caten: We really like to be part of these projects. We always try to be close to our followers and clients too. We think that these kind of documentaries tell more about us as individuals and designers.
This is not a matter of revealing some intimate moments but it is always been a way to make people more engaged into the brand and into our personalities. We love our lives and our jobs so much! We simply want to connect and put forth a positive message to share with all people no matter their age or walk of life.
Kenneth Richard: Well you both walk the walk. Thank you both so much for the time and again, congrats on the collection.
Dan & Dean Portrait | Inez & Vinoodh Runway Photos | IMAXtree Backstage Photos Fall 2019 | Kevin Tachman @kevintachman