The proscenium curtain dropped on a snow-dusted settler scene straight out of 'Annie Get Your Gun'.
The really great thing about a DSquared2 show is that, despite the ever-helpful rhyming couplets that comprise the collection notes, you're never quite sure what you're going to see. Take this season for example: grime-printed press releases peppered with phrases like 'black creek bikers' and 'grunge workers', and an orchestral blast of Nirvana to open. Let's settle down for a Kurt Cobain homage.
Then the proscenium curtain dropped on a snow-dusted settler scene straight out of 'Annie Get Your Gun' (replete with fire-hazard candle cluster and comedy drawers on a washing line) and the first model hit the catwalk like a sexed-up Quaker in wide-brimmed Amish hat, wire-rim specs, spray-on farmer tan and 'rugged' four-figure workwear. Settler chic. Who was expecting that?
In fact, the clues were in those notes - black smith, black iron, black coal - just plain black. Almost everything Dean and Dan Caten showed this season was that sooty shade, from abdominal-hugging tailoring and melton overcoats to shearling bomber jackets and velvet bow-ties, with a neat diversion into leather aprons and overalls to boot. There were a few exceptions - the carnation-pink back to a waistcoat, for example, a touch of olive-green or muted grey in a checked flannel, or indeed in the ubiquitous jeans - indigo, low on the hips, and dry-clean-only distressed to perfection.
It doesn't sound terribly nineteenth-century, but the Caten twins realised long ago that a theme in fashion can go a long way - namely, that by dressing up your set and plonking a few jokey titfers on your models, you can make it look like you've got some new product. Chop off those bronzed heads (quel dommage!) and this get-up could have been from any DSquared2 show, including the one in shops right now. We weren't expecting fireworks or seismic fashion movement from DSquared2: that's not what they're about. But it would be nice to see something that didn't seem as if it was designed on autopilot.