This is the last day for Milan Fashion Week and, of course, it’s still raining. While I wouldn’t say the week has been a total disappointment, we’ve certainly seen more exciting times and the fact that there’s been no gigantic standout here is a bit disconcerting. We leave having seen some good fashion, to be sure, but nothing that is likely to alter the overall fashion aesthetic over the next six months. Paris is our last hope for ending this season with any level of excitement and with both Raf Simons and Alber Elbaz out of the picture this season that seems unlikely.
To that end, Dean and Dan Caten certainly tried to give us something different this season. I mean, there’s layering and then there’s smothering and there were times in this morning’s DSquared² collection where the stacks of fur and fabric were so high that the model almost became lost in the mix. The Canadian twins seem to really enjoy the fall/winter season and don’t let charges of cultural appropriation keep them from once again utilizing some of the tribal designs of the Far North in what has to be the warmest looking collection of the season. I can just imagine one of the primary questions during casting having been, “Can you carry fifty pounds of fabric on your shoulders while wearing stilettos without stumbling?” Fragile models need not apply.
There were times when one might have reason to question exactly where this collection was going. On the shoulders of many of the ensembles were large Victorian-styled crocheted pieces that covered both the shoulders and the neck very elegantly, frequently adorned with sequins because every winter outfit needs some bling. Underneath that old-world look, though, were pants in a military camouflage print, wide at the hips with large cargo pockets, then quickly tapered to be skin tight at the knees. Underneath THAT was the tribal printed long-sleeve bodysuit that has become a staple of the DSquared² collection the past two years. Now, toss a coat over the whole thing, and we’re not talking small coats, either. There wasn’t an ensemble coming down the runway that didn’t have a minimum of three layers to it, none of them from the same era or style as the ones above and below. If one is going to wear DSquared² this fall, you might want to add an extra thirty minutes to your morning schedule just to put the clothes on.
As convoluted as that collection may sound, the looks are actually quite attractive. Okay, so one might need to hire a personal stylist to help them put the looks together; when one has as many different pieces to each look it is difficult at times to know what goes where. Still, the overall aesthetic is worth the trouble. Especially attractive are the military style cape coats with their huge brass buttons. The look is sharp and clean, covering all the clutter underneath, and the heavy wool is going to keep one warm even if riding horseback across the frozen tundra, which is something I’m sure we all do each winter.
At the very end of the collection, the looks turn dark and gothic. Some of these looks are rather severe. There is an ensemble that includes a long, black, silk dress under a full-length, black, military-styled overcoat, that is downright frightening. I do believe if I saw someone heading my direction wearing that outfit I would fear for my mortal soul. There’s a movie villain somewhere that needs this look.
One curious point is nagging at me, though. For all this excessive covering, the twins even include gloves on most the looks, one would think that for footwear they would choose something equally heavy and warm, such as fur-lined thigh-high boots or something. No. Not even close. Instead, we get open toe, strappy stilettos. That’s right, for all the warmth and over layering there is up top, one’s feet, that part of the body most likely to encounter snow and freezing rain, those extremities most vulnerable to frostbite, are left totally bare. Sure, there are cutesie decorations on the top of the shoes, but those don’t help a bit when one steps in an accumulated puddle of half-frozen sludge that has deposited itself just outside a doorway.
I might as well also point out that the color palette is extremely dark so that any exposed skin is a shocking contrast to the overall aesthetic. Who looked best in these clothes? The two, count ’em, black models walking. All those dark, heavy layers make pasty white skin look all the more anemic. I’m guessing the twins didn’t give this matter a lot of thought before shoving it down the runway.
Despite the distractions and lack of appropriate footwear, this is still a good looking collection for DSquared². Given the number of individual pieces, there is plenty of opportunity for one to build their wardrobe in a way that is appropriate for their own environment, which should result in strong sales for the brand. Just, please, find some boots to go with it.