Vogue CS in English

Dsquared2's 25th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that for already a quarter of a century, twin brothers, Dan and Dean Caten, have worked as the creative force behind Dsquared2, a leading brand on the Italian fashion scene. I caught up with the Milan-based Canadian designer-duo during their stop in sunny Miami, as they presented their capsule collection, to talk about it all.
Foto: Getty Images
Dan a Dean Catenovi, Bella Hadid, Jon Kortajarena a Hailey Clauson
You just celebrated your 25th anniversary. Congratulations! How did you get into fashion and working together? Was it a clear choice for you both?
We never really decided to work together. It always came very naturally to us, also due to our natural bond! We started when we were kids designing clothes for our sisters’ special occasions! Since that moment, we understood that our passion could also become work for us.
When we started, we said to each other this was our one shot. We could have always gone back to Canada, we would have just tried. That’s also why we chose to come to Europe. Because if we would have gone to New York, it would have been a bus ride home and we could have given up quicker. We wanted to put an ocean and language barrier between us and our goal. We wanted to make it as difficult as possible to not give up. Yesterday it was a dream and today it is a reality.
You have such a unique story. How do you operate day to day? Are you both involved in the creative process?
We are a team. We do everything together. We complete each other and we would not function one without the other, as Dsquared2 is all about two creative forces coming together!
Even if we have a different personality (we have never been “one”), we cannot think of one of us without the other. We never make a decision if one of the two of us does not agree, and in this case, we always find a compromise!
What made your brand so successful for nearly three decades? What is the recipe for keeping your brand relevant in the current fashion environment?
Our collections are and have always been a seamless melding of contrasts: sporty and glamorous, laidback and extravagant, masculine and feminine. We have always been true to ourselves and we think it’s always been what we like. Our brand evolved, it got broader, we covered more occasions, from formal to sport… Now you can go in our clothes to the beach, go to the disco, go to the Oscars - wherever you want to go, we’ve got something for you. We’ve got it covered (laugh).
Foto: Getty Images
Dan a Dean Catenovi s Jennifer Lopez
Foto: Getty Images
Dan a Dean Catenovi se Zendayou
What are the biggest changes in the industry over the last 25 years, and how have they affected you?
The fashion system is constantly evolving, and for a fashion brand, it can be hard to keep up with this. But, we have our woman capsule collection and our man classic collection that have a timeless design with the high quality of Italian-made tailoring. Customers more than ever want clothes that last “forever” and don’t necessarily cater to seasonal trends, but flow from season to season. The closet is built over the course of time. Our pieces go together regardless of which collection they come from in order to use and potentially reuse what you already have, without necessarily buying something new all the time. We do believe that now it's about reconnecting with clothes, rather than viewing them as quick trends or throwaway items.
Who do you design for? Who is your customer, your man, woman today?
Fashion is about having fun, daring and never taking yourself too seriously! We are the brand’s first clients, and for this reason, we create a comfortable but stylish look perfect for every occasion. This is the reason why our key elements came out naturally: Italian fine tailoring, denim, leather and strong accessories. We have always tried to combine denim with more sartorial pieces to give a more classical twist. Our customers are all stylish people with a great personality, who are not afraid to mix and match casual and elegant items, and who are comfortable and at ease, wearing them that way! Dsquared2 is a brand for all people around the world who love being impeccable and wearing items differently, mixing and matching what they have in their wardrobe. People who like to work, party and travel… just like us!
You have menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, shoes, etc. How many collections a year do you produce, and where does the inspiration for all of your fashion lines keep coming from?  
We take inspiration from everything that surrounds us. It could be a song, colors, feelings or even a picture! If we get positive feelings, we just try to transform them into creative ideas. We are a team, and our strength is being positive, fun-loving and full of energy.
Foto: Getty Images
Dan a Dean Catenovi, Cassie, Sean Diddy Combs a Naomi Campbell
Foto: Getty Images
Dan a Dean Catenovi s Gigi Hadid
I always run into you during music and art events. It is always fun to be around you! What do like to do off duty to keep your work-life balance?
We love to travel in our free time, we love to snowboard, but also to get sun-kissed and watch the sunset on a beautiful beach!  When it comes to unwinding in Milan, we have created a Dsquared2 lifestyle where we can easily take a break from our busy days. In fact, we opened Ceresio 7 Pools and Restaurant in 2013 on the rooftop of our Headquarters, where we have delicious food and drinks post-work, and in 2017 we opened Ceresio 7 Gym&Spa in the basement, where we can have a spa treatment or train!
Milan is your creative site, yet you come from North America. How is working in the Italian fashion environment compared to the US? What do you think are the key differences and/or advantages, to an Italian/European fashion audience and environment vs. that in North America?
We are very close to both Canada and Italy, and we always keep both realities in mind when we design a collection. Canada represents our roots, our starting point. It is naturally part of our creativity and style. We always have a thought for our native land in our collections, we cannot do without it!  Italy is synonymous with beauty, craftsmanship, high quality and contemporary seductiveness and charm.
Dsquared2 approach to fashion is a distinct mix of heritage Canadian iconography, modern Italian tailoring and playful sensuality.
Where do you want to see yourself evolving? What does the future of Dsquared2 look like?
We are so happy that our company is up and going strong. It’s steady growth, it didn’t trickle off. We are still doing this. The flow and the pattern are still really positive, and we think that is the hardest thing to keep. Now again looking at everything we’ve done, we want to, again, focus on what our contribution to fashion is and what belongs to us, and own it.
As for the future, we certainly hope to continue growing and expanding, and most of all, to keep on doing this job for the other 25 years and more - always together of course! Follow us to discover what’s next!