Canadian twin brothers from Willowdale Ontario, Dean and Dan Caten have operated in the international fashion business since 1984. They moved to New York City in 1983 to attend the Parson’s School of Design and in 1991 came to Italy where in 1994, after many collaborations with the most important fashion houses, they had their first men’s collection show, marking the first in a long succession of runway extravaganzas that were to capture the attention of journalists and buyers for their perfect combination of fashion, music and theater.
The intelligent mix of irreverent Canadian wit and refined Italian tailoring, together with attention to detail are the foundation of today’s Dsquared2 philosophy, which has given life to a unique concept of alternative luxury. Recently, Dsquared2 collections have conquered a wider audience and, owing to their natural stylistic maturity, have become more chic and sophisticated while maintaining those sexy and provocative traits so embedded in their creative roots. This evolution is also due to the continuous international inspiration received by Dean and Dan, who, while dividing their life and work between Milan and London, create their collections in Italy: “Born in Canada, living in London, made in Italy”.
DSQUARED² AND MUSIC
The union of fashion and music is unbreakable for Dsquared2. Since the very beginning, Dsquared2 has always attracted a following among international celebrities: Lenny Kravitz, Justin Timberlake, Ricky Martin, Nelly Furtado, Simon Webbe, and Robbie Williams are all devotees of the brand. But it is thanks to a lucky encounter with Madonna that the Caten twins were able to leave an indelible mark on the world of international show business. They were commissioned to design 150 outfits both for the artist and her dancers for the video “Don’t Tell Me” and for the 2002 Drowned World Tour.
The success of Dsquared2 with Madonna’s CD launched the Autumn-Winter 03/04 season with a full Dsquared2 Women’s Collection. Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, Karolina Kurkova and Fernanda Tavares were featured as rock stars disembarking from a candy-pink private jet. The following day, the prestigious trade publication, WWD, featured Dsquared2 on its front cover and published a two-page interview, in which Dan said: “The Dsquared2 woman is self-assured, vibrant and sexy; the perfect compliment to our signature men’s look”.
Significant partnerships with the music world continued the following year. The undisputable pop queen Christina Aguilera who fell in love with the Dsquared2 style and the Caten twins designed a wardrobe for her and that of the dance team for the opening of her world tour, “Stripped World Tour 2003”. A genuine friendship was struck and Christina agreed to appear on the runway as Dsquared2‘s guest of honour at the Spring-Summer 2005 Menswear Show in Milan. Another significant partnership was with the Italian singer Laura Pausini, for whom they designed the outfits for her single appearance at San Siro Stadium as part of her World tour on the 3rd of June 2007, when the artist performed in front of 70.000 people.
On September 2007 19-year-old superstar Rihanna made her catwalk debut at the show of the SS08 women’s collection. The bombshell singer sashayed down the runway to the tunes of her hit song “Umbrella” in a revealing baby doll-style dress by the twin design duo.
Within the same period, pop star Fergie came out with her video “Clumsy”, where the twin designers are featured having fun accompanying Fergie down a fairytale catwalk during a mock fashion show.
The most recent achievement for Dean and Dan is their collaboration with Britney Spears, for which the designers created the stage costumes for “THE CIRCUS STARRING BRITNEY SPEARS” world tour, which began on March 3 2009 in New Orleans, LA.
The Circus Tour, Britney’s first arena tour in five years, features custom designed Dsquared2 costumes for Britney and her dancers for the first segment of the concert. Traditional circus characters such as trapeze artists, clowns, and jugglers, are given a reinterpreted aesthetic with provocative, sinister, and sensualised “sado” concepts.
On February 22 2010 the popular German rock band Tokio Hotel began their International tour, “Welcome to Humanoid City Tour”, for which the Caten twins have designed the stage costumes for the band and its lead singer, Bill Kaulitz. Kaulitz also debuted as a model during the latest Dsquared2 Men’s F/W 2010/2011 fashion show.
In 2003, Dsquared2 received the “La Kore” award, considered the “Oscar” of the Italian fashion world, as the Most Original Designers.
Then in October of 2003 Dean and Dan Caten were named "Men of the Year" by GQ Magazine USA as the Best Breakthrough Design Team.
In 2006, competing among a slate of fashion designers renown for originality, Dean and Dan won the prestigious Spanish award “Aguja de Oro” (“Golden Needle”); for the occasion, the brothers designed an outfit that will remain on display at the Museo del Traje in Madrid.
On December 2007 Dean & Dan were the winners of the GQ Spanish Award “Man of the Year”.
The event at its seventh edition awarded Dsquared2 as “Best designers of the year”, due to “their ability to create casual looks while keeping the elegance and on the other hand to have renewed the elegance” affirmed the GQ director Javier Fernandez de Angulo.
On April 17 2008 the prestigious international organization Fashion Group International during the Night of Stars gala awarded Dean and Dan Caten together with other 4 characters of Canadian origin who distinguished themselves at international level for their contribution to fashion, beauty and design.
On November 13 of the same year Dean and Dan Caten were assigned the prestigious recognition of “Best Designer of the Year” winning the GQ Germany “Men of the year” award.
The designers have been awarded with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame the Canada Honour for 2009. The official unveiling took place in Toronto on September 11 and 12 2009.
With the Fall/Winter ’02 “Homeless’’ collection, Staff International became the licensed worldwide manufacturer/distributor of all Dsquared2 men and women’s clothing collections. One of the logical outcomes of the strong growth experienced by the brand is product diversification, with special emphasis on accessories, footwear and fragrance. In addition to Dsquared2‘s line of men’s footwear, produced by Galizio Torresi since the early days of the first collections, a women’s footwear line was introduced with the Autumn-Winter Collection 04. It won immediate international acclaim and a guaranteed spot in the finest boutiques and in all major department stores. Beginning with the Autumn-Winter 07/08 collection Dsquared2 has decided to have its women’s footwear produced and distributed in house.
In addition, a licensing agreement with ICR-ITF Group for the production and international distribution of Dsquared2 fragrances and cosmetics was signed in March 2006. In September 2007 Dsquared2 launched its first Men’s fragrance entitled He Wood. While in September 2008 was launched the first Women’s fragrance: She Wood.
After this the designers launched a series of fragrances entitled “Nature always wins. The Supercollection” (composed of the male fragrances He Wood Rocky Montain Wood, He Wood Ocean Wet Wood and He Wood Silver Wind Wood and of the female’s She Wood Velvet Forest Wood, She Wood Crystal Creek Wood and She Wood Golden Light Wood), the Caten twins are currently working on a new male fragrance to be launched starting from September 2011.
In March 2008 Dean and Dan Caten and the Marcolin Group, one of the global leaders in the eyewear industry announced the 5-year licensing agreement for the production and worldwide distribution of sunglasses and prescription frames under the Dsquared2 brand.
In September 2011, Dsquared2 and Staff International signed the new license contract. It will have a duration of 17 years until the Spring/Summer 2027 collections, and grant Staff International the worldwide exclusive rights to plan, develop, produce and distribute the Dsquared2 ready-to-wear collections
The Dsquared2 lifestyle is most exquisitely expressed in the ad campaigns for which the Caten twins partnered with some of the most well-known fashion photographers in the world. For years the Dsquared2 ad image was managed by Steven Klein, who was behind the shots for some of the most original and innovative ad campaigns in the last few years such as FW02-03’s “Homeless”, SS03’s “Cottage Country”, FW03-04’s “Star-24-7”, SS04’s “Dean & Dan’s Dinner”, FW04-05’s “Great White North” and SS05’s “Bachelor’s Party”. But the Dsquared2 image has since evolved in a more sophisticated direction, employing shots of Gisele Bündchen provided by Mert & Marcus for the Autumn-Winter 05/06 campaign as well as of super-sexy cowgirl Carmen Kass for the Spring-Summer 2006 Collection photographed by Mikael Jansson.
From Spring-Summer 2007 through Spring-Summer 2009 Dsquared2 cooperates with the famous photographer Steven Meisel who shot the advertising campaign both for the clothing and shoes collections and for the fragrances, He Wood and She Wood.
From Fall-Winter 2009-10 Dean and Dan chose to cooperate again with Mert Alas e Marcus Piggot.