Designers Dish: Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2
Dean and Dan Caten, the Canadian identical twins behind the bold international fashion house, talk 20 years in the business, music industry style icons and learning from mistakes.
Dsquared2 has long been a label worn and loved by celebrities, and especially singers, who appreciate a statement-making aesthetic: Britney Spears, Madonna, Rihanna, Ricky Martin and Lenny Kravitz, to name a few. In fact, the fashion house has been around for 20 years and in the past year has opened several U.S. boutiques, L.A. being the first in the country, and this spring a new flagship in London.
The label's founders, twins Dean and Dan Caten, celebrated this milestone recently, and their Rodeo Drive boutique with a Moet cocktail party and intimate dinner at Cecconi’s with guests including Cassie, Estelle, The Atomics, Brad Goreski, blogger superstars Chiara Ferragni and Aimee Song. Pret-A-Reporter chatted with the designers, who appear to be getting more successful with age.
You’ve been in business 20 years. Congrats! What have you learned over the years?
Dean Caten: “A lot! Let’s see, lessons, that’s hard. I think you have to walk before you run. Keep a steady pace, not trying to run so fast that you could fall. With 20 years we put down the groundwork, built our teams, built our trust and [found people] we work well with, and the collection has grown and right now we’re prepared to open more space.”
Dan Caten: “Also seeing what’s working in the stores that exist and not working. Learning from your mistakes, and learning what you can do to improve and make it better, have a better service and experience. It’s really observing. Practice makes perfect, so with 20 years of practice I think we’ve ironed out a lot of creases.”
Dean: “Almost perfect.”
Why did you choose L.A. for your first U.S. boutique?
Dan: It’s a funny story. We actually do really well in our online store, and the data we got from that was that most of our customers were from Los Angeles. Twenty percent of them were American, and most of the Americans were in L.A. We thought, "This is saying something. There’s a void, so maybe we should help them in L.A. have an easier way to approach this product.”
The Catens with Cassie at their Rodeo Drive boutique.
You work with a lot of musicians. Why is that?
Dan: I think music is probably the world we’re more attached to even than film. We grew up with a lot of brothers and sisters and a lot of different types of music. It’s a big inspiration for us. We feed on it, and it evokes a lot of emotions and memories.
Who are your favorite musicians to dress?
Dan: Oh, all the hot young ones. (Laughs) I won’t say any names.
Who are your personal style icons?
Dan: The risk-takers. The ones who go kind of out there and experiment with fashion and have fun and still look good. Rihanna’s always playing games and doing cool things. Beyonce. A lot of musicians have taken it a step further — that’s why we’re attached to them. They give a little extra effort. It’s good to see.
You have a restaurant, Ceresio 7, in Milan, and it’s gorgeous. What are your favorite restaurants in L.A.?
Dan: Soho [House] here I love. I think Soho House in general was kind of an inspiration for our restaurant. It’s a mashup of all our favorite places. It has two of my Basquiats, and other art we did ourselves. There’s a place in Rio called Fasano with a rooftop, it’s a really great atmosphere. We tried to take that energy and put in a pool — there was nowhere cool to get sun in Milan where you can enjoy food and drink. So it’s really a mashup of all the things we do. We’re always doing that with how we dress, where we live, how we eat. If you do something you like, then I’m sure there are [going to be] other people who agree with you.