Dean and Dan Caten know how to work a theme. Their Dsquared2 shows are an entertaining cross between the high-octane energy of one of Gianni Versace's early nineties extravaganzas, and an especially haute camp fashion pantomime. Part of their power comes from their one-note themes - glam-camping, American Gigolo, The Rocky Horror Show to name but a few recent forays. All interpreted as playful, saleable casual wear with a few muscle-bound hunks incongruously thrown in for decoration. That, it seems, is the Dsquared2 way.
Today's offering, however, felt somewhat lacking. That overarching theme was American nineteenth-century pioneer-women, although banish all thoughts of Victorian primness and Jane Seymour as Dr Quinn Medicine Woman from your thoughts. Plain Jane would never have mixed with the Dsquared2 vixens, who seemed to have donned their Quaker boyfriend's wide-brimmed hats and skinned a buffalo or six to cobble together their floor-skimming fur coats. The waist was the emphasis, which in itself if pretty Victorian - so too were the pouf-sleeved leg-o-mutton blouses - well, almost, with buttoning and shaping more reminiscent of Wild West underwear than outerwear, sliding into fetish gear when rendered in glossy calf.
Pioneers may have been the theme, but pioneering was not the word for the clothing, another reworking of the over -exposed Dsquared2 basics of artfully distressed denim, checkered shirts and high-heeled boots. The Catens dressed them up admirably, with the requisite ear-splitting music and hammy stage props, but at its core this was a collection of good ol' fashioned American street-wear. Generally, Dsquared2 use their show themes to give it a novelty spin, but maybe as they were looking closer to home Dean and Dan decided to forgo the flash and keep their eye on the cash. We never come to Dsquared2 expecting to be surprised, but we do come expecting to be entertained. Today, we weren't, pure and simple. And without the gloss of catwalk theatrics as a brand-strengthening exercise, I'm not sure these blandly commercial clothes were really runway-worthy.