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DSQUARED2:     25 Years Of Making An Icon

DSQUARED2: 25 Years Of Making An Icon

If you don’t already follow DSQUARED2 - aka Dean and Dan Caten - on Instagram, then it’s a situation you should rectify immediately. Quite possibly the most fun you can have in the world of fashion, the Canadian-born, half Italian, half English twins can be found dancing around their Cypriot villa during lockdown 1.0, wakeboarding in Mykonos for that hot minute of summer travel, learning viral TikTok routines and having pillow fights (with beautiful models no less) – it’s just the tonic we all need right now. 

An uplifting mix of fashion and frivolity, the past quarter of a century has created one of the world’s most-loved independent labels - thanks in no small part to its two founders. Brimming with personality, energy, and seriously good vibes, the duo ooze confidence, and a refreshingly candid attitude. And why wouldn’t you, if you had 25 years of fashion hits under your belt?

It hasn’t been the easiest path to success. The youngest of nine siblings, Dean and Dan grew up in Toronto in a small two-bedroom house, with very little. After a brief stint studying fashion at New York’s prestigious Parsons School for Design, they returned to their native Canada to learn on the job. The risk paid off, with the pair eventually named joint Head Designers of Ports 1961 (then Ports International).

Not content with success in Canada, they embarked on a move across the Atlantic to Milan, where they took the plunge to make it in one of the fashion world’s most cutthroat cities. “When we started, we said to each other this is our one shot, we can always come back to Canada we will just try,” they explain. “That’s why we also chose to come to Europe because if we went to New York it was a bus ride home and we could give up quicker. We wanted to put an ocean and a language barrier between us and our goal, we wanted to make it as difficult as possible to give up” After stints at several fashion houses, they chose to go it alone, with their sights set on their own label: DSQUARED2.

Never has a brand so utterly embodied its founders. Sexy, fun, and a little bit cheeky, the Catens have attested to the fact that they simply want to make clothes that they like, and that other people would actually want to wear. A novel idea, perhaps, and one that has found them a legion of celebrity fans – they’ve dressed everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Cristiano Ronaldo - and birthed collections of cult pieces; from their infamous ‘ICON’ caps, to their Canadian Maple Leaf designs and bold slogan sweats and tees. For a brand that began as a luxury denim destination, they’ve grown up over the years, developing a skill for beautifully tailored pieces – all with that DSQUARED2 sex appeal, of course.  

Serious exhibitionists themselves, it’s no wonder they’ve become a firm favourite with singers over the years. Madonna herself is credited with kick-starting their move into womenswear after they dressed her for her music video ‘Don’t Tell Me’ in 2000. “The moment that was a game-changer for us was dressing Madonna,” they say. “Madonna is definitely “the icon” of pop music but also of fashion. She is a powerful and glamourous muse; a strong woman and an amazing performer.”

The musical collaborations didn’t stop there. DSQUARED2 were the designers behind Britney Spears’ iconic ‘The Circus’ tour, Christina Aguilera’s ‘Stripped’ tour, and that Beyoncé Superbowl outfit.

The power of celebrity has always been integral to their allure. Their debut womenswear show saw them cast supers Naomi Campbell and Karolina Kurkova, who walked the red carpet in front of an extravagant pink plane.

The showmanship didn’t stop there. Over the past 25 years, we’ve had the joy of tropical waterfalls, Rihanna herself nestled in a muscle car, and then there was the SS12 show, where, inspired by Glastonbury, models traipsed gallantly through the mud. For their AW20 25th anniversary show, the duo took a trip down memory lane alongside disco icons Sister Sledge who sang out their finale to ‘We Are Family.’


So, what do 25 years of fashion mean for them? “We’re really proud we got this far, it’s a lot of work, and a lot of people don’t get this far,” they say. “We’re also really proud that we still own our brand. We were different when we first arrived in Milan in the fashion industry and it was tough but we moved on and forward.”

With an AW20 collection that celebrates the real DNA of the brand, you can expect to see a lot more of their signature distressed denim, of-the-moment sports-luxe twists on tailored pieces, and, of course, a host of boldly branded items that scream DSQUARED2 – literally.  

What do we hope for the next 25 years of DSQUARED2? More fun, more passion, and that we can all learn to be a little more Dean and Dan Caten.