Designer twins Dean and Dan Caten, who grew up financially struggling and often bullied outside Toronto then skyrocketed to fame as co-founders of the Milan-based luxury label Dsquared2, have long touted a personal mantra: Born in Canada, made in Italy. These days, add to that beachcombing in Cyprus.
Lean, chiseled, and perennially tan, the Catens, 57, have made an art form of living, working, and playing together. After parlaying a semester at Parsons into a gig as co-creative directors of the luxe Canadian brand Ports International (later Ports 1961), they relocated to Milan, starting their own menswear brand with minimal funds and maximum showmanship. They soon caught the eye of Madonna (they created costumes for her Don’t Tell Me video and 2002 world tour), later adding womenswear to the mix.
A stream of celebrity fans followed, from Lenny Kravitz to Christina Aguilera and Rihanna. Known for extravagant runway shows, the brothers found it tough to scale back during the pandemic. (They offered a video presentation of their spring line last September.) But this year they returned to the runway with a men’s show in January and women’s in February. They spoke to RESIDE® from their showroom in Milan.
What was it like being backstage again after two long years?
DAN: Like it used to be. The adrenaline, the nerves, the excitement, the chaos.
DEAN: We did one video show. It was almost the same amount of work and money, with much less reward.
DAN: There’s something magical about a live fashion show, and the energy of the room.