I like DSquared. There I’ve said it. I really do like it. For some reason though, if I ever own up to that fact in public, I get looked at with a mixture of amusement and pity as if it’s somehow not a cool thing to admit.
Mention Marni, Prada, Gucci, Marc Jacobs Alberta Ferretti. But DSquared? Uh-uh. Which is unfair really. DSquared’s Dean and Dan Caten have a knack for mixing what in other hands would be casualwear basics with ultra-sexy pieces and creating an on-trend fusion that means it’s a label you just can’t ignore.
It’s a talent shared by Christophe Decarnin, formerly of Balmain and now at Faith Connexion, and in both cases, it results in some of the most interesting interpretations of the word “casual” around.
So what have we got this pre-season from the Caten twins? For Resort/Pre-summer 2017 they’ve tapped into military-meets-urban functionality with a classic khaki jumpsuit updated for the season via oversized pockets and the must-have grand prix chequerboard print.
The colour and chequerboard story also extends to a waisted parka, the latest in a series of attempts labels are making this pre-season to ring the changes for a key item that just won’t fade (alternative updates from other labels includes camo, kitsch sequin motifs and badges).
Other pieces in the khaki/chequerboard combo also highlight DSquared’s ability to mix casual with sexy. Lacing detail boots combined with functional detail mini dresses are the perfect option for the tall, slim and youthful who can carry off the in-your-face sexiness without any effort.
By contrast, there’s a retro-meets-rock chick look with a sprinkling of (Ziggy) stardust. Think sequin mini dresses or lurex maxi fine knit dresses that are just right for party time, or the kind of casual tux that Hedi Slimane does so well mixed with cropped cargo pants in a sequin camo pattern.
A lace detail T-shirt dress looks tailor-made to inspire several high street brands, while a lurex stripe Fred Perry-style top, a Ziggy Stardust metallic leather jacket and a sequin stripe V-neck tank knit add further to the retro day-into-night appeal.
As those lace detail boots suggest, footwear and accessories are key parts of each look. Also big for the brand are 70s-style ankle strap platforms in silver or black-with-embellishment. Teamed with lilac lurex socks, they underline the increasing experimentation with high-profile hosiery we’ve been seeing from many labels in the past few seasons.
The bags look powerful too, whether it’s an oversized airline-style carryall, a functional khaki kit bag or a mini bag duo covered in badges or decorated with the season’s must-have motif, the Union Jack.
I’ve always been pretty ambivalent about Union Jack motifs. Maybe they remind me too much of the I’m Backing Britain campaign of the 60s or – horror of horrors – the Spice Girls in the 90s.
Whether the Union Jack remains popular long-term, given that the UK shoved two Anglo-Saxon fingers up to the rest of the world on June 23, is open to question. For now though, Dean and Dan Caten seem to like it and I like Dean and Dan Caten so it’s good enough for me.