There are two things guaranteed to wake you up on the final day of Milan fashion week. One is a perforated eardrum. The other is an eye-socking display of glitter, glitz, colour and showy razzmatazz. We can usually rely on the rock-soundtracked, flashy and trashy catwalk shenanigans of Dean and Dan Caten, the twinky twins behind the DSquared2 label, to provide us with both - especially when it comes to summer. Dean and Dan may be Canadian, but they wish all girls could be California girls, tanned, bleached-blonde and clad in the teeniest and/or tightest garments imaginable. For spring 2012, however, DSquared2 marched to a different beat - their normally glammed-out DSquared2 girl went to Glastonbury, danced in the mud in her high-heeled wellington boots, and came back wearing a vintage fox fur slung over her shoulders and a tattered American flag as a skirt. Right. Somehow, I don't think the Catens have ever actually been to Glastonbury, but it was fun for them to give festival chic a go.
Alas, rather than DSquared2's usual colourful sportswear, when their girl went Glasto all she brought back with her was a lousy t-shirt. And a grubby one at that. Granted, there were also some dirt-smothered jeans, a studded gilet and that moth-eaten fox fur - or six (most with bemused-looking heads intact) - but were they really runway-worthy? DSquared2 are under the Diesel banner these days, and I couldn't help but think that those painstakingly muck-raked jeans looked just like Diesel's overprocessed distressed denim from about ten years hence. Funnily enough, Dean and Dan first used the effect for the on-stage denims in Madonna's 2001 tour, apparently. But if they wanted to revive a hit, they have much greater ones than that.
This was a classic case of a theme overwhelming a collection entirely. There were a few great pieces that leapt out from the melee. They weren't revolutionary, but we don't go to DSquared2 expecting anything like that. We want youth and wit, the type exuded here by a dress striped with ombre tiger in sequins, another crafted like a folksy festival shawl from layers of silk fringe. Signature DSquared2, they nevertheless simultaneously tapped into the bohoemian rhapsody Milan has been feeling all week for evening, even if they were roughed up a little around the edges. The trouble with the rest of this collection was that the design was neglible at best, and non-existant at worst. Try as Dean and Dan Caten might, you can't cover that up with a perilous catwalk of wet mud and a backdrop of male models pogo-ing uncomfortably to heavy-decibel rock at 9.30am. In short, for spring 2012 DSquared2 made one hell of a noise, without actually having anything to say.