Ah Dean and Dan Caten. Milan just wouldn't be the same without you. Who else would stage their show in a nightclub and treat us all to the greatest hits of the speakeasy generation complete with faux saxophone players, comedy cigarette holders and nudge-nudge-wink-wink flirtations between models as they passed each other on the runway, some trussed up like retro vixens in sweeping embellished gowns and others done like Bugsy Malone in suits and fedoras.
This Autumn/Winter showing was a continuation of the duo's recent menswear collection. So the forties silhouettes and jazz-age accessories were back with a vengeance. Their new idea for the DSquared2 girl was cross-dressing, hence why half the models appeared in ridged retro tailoring in heavy masculine fabrics such as pinstriped tweed and wool. The less lucky half found themselves in gowns that were so decorated with diamante they could have been figure skating costumes, and so tight that they made walking impossible - watching the 'femme' models try to navigate their way to the end of the runway without slipping on a fishtail or getting their heel stuck in some sweeping silk was painful.
While it was certainly all good fun - and a welcome dose of silliness after the cerebral affair that is Prada - this collection simply veered too far towards costume. The excessive jewellery and over-zealous characterisation smacked of amateur dramatics and left the collection feeling irrelevant to real life outside of the catwalk theatre. While one never truly hopes that the DSquared2 duo will tone things down - the prospect of some near-nude frolics is what gets me through the Milan menswear shows - it would be pleasant to be able to focus just a little bit more on the clothes rather than be distracted by the hoopla of the presentation. This season, the jazz age smoke and mirrors seemed to mask rather than enhance the fashion on show.