The fashionable duo is Canada's most stylish and quirky export.
It was a chance encounter that convinced Dan and Dean Caten to pursue careers in fashion design. âIn Canada, everyone takes off their shoes at the front door,â says Dan, who was born in Toronto and currently lives with his identical twin in London. âMy older brother had this hot girl at the house, and she had left her hot boots in the mud roomâthey were grey suede with a platform. We were in awe of them. I said [to Dean], âYou know, Iâd make the heel a little bit higher and add a star over hereââthatâs how we got started!â Now, Dan and Dean are the sartorial force behind outdoorsy-glam label DSquared2 and have launched everything from fragrances toâyou guessed itâfootwear. ELLE caught up with Dan to talk about unlikely inspirations, fall fashion and those other famous Canadian brothers, Bob and Doug McKenzie.
Whatâs your design process like?
âFirst we come up with a theme, and then everything flows from there. So [for fall/winter 2010/2011] the theme was hockey, and we started thinking âWhat is hockey?â We watched videos and realized that itâs violent and bloodyâlike âhockey horror.â And hockey horror kind of sounds like Rocky Horror, so.... We work in weird contrasts. Weâre always together, and we brainstorm all the time.â
Your fall 2011 collection had a True Grit vibe. What was your inspiration?
âThe movie Cold Mountain. Nicole Kidman looks so cool in it, and itâs about being in the cold and wearing lots of layersâ itâs kind of Canadian in a weird way. We liked the petticoat shapes and the long, sweeping skirts, and we used a lot of leather and fur. So [the inspiration] was really ârebel-biker meets early-pioneer girl.ââ
Why is it important to include aspects of your Canadian identity in your collections?
âWe love the fact that weâre Canadian; itâs identifiable to us and weâre proud of it. Our most Canadian runway was the Great White North show. The music was hysterical: We mixed the âOntarioâ song with a clip of Bob and Doug McKenzie talking.â
âYes! It all started with her âDonât Tell Meâ video. She called us and said, âIâm in love with what you do.â So we did the rodeo-girl shirt and the #1 tee with a foxtail for her. When Madonna says youâre cool, thatâs a big stamp of approval. After that, we created sexy looks for Britney [Spears] for her Circus tour.â
What is something people donât know about you?
âWeâre great bowlers! When weâre in Noventa [in Italy, where they have a factory], after dinner we usually end up at the bowling alley with all the kids. Weâre almost professionals.â
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