Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared have been rocking it for some time now. Last fall's collection was rife with great ideas, deliciously luxe elements and color combinations to make most others stop and take notes. The humor and naughtiness they share with an audience so steeped in their own juices is refreshingly unself-conscious. Their work is like a mirror held up to a world that fails to see itself, only a funhouse version of what they imagine themselves to be. Fashion and style is clearly something to be enjoyed and dressing is a means to self expression and not self reference. When I looked at their Resort 2013 collection I took a double take. I thought for a moment I was looking Chanel, but without all the pretentious stuffing and studied self absorption. A knowing Lolita at a payphone had replaced a jaded Ines at the palace steps. Don't get me wrong, I have immense regard and respect for Karl Lagerfeld. I'm just a bit full from all the motor mouth gab about modernism, unsentimentality and never looking back. For a few seasons now, his work is weighted down by a grandeur that is totally sentimental and of the past. Taking Marie Antoinette and dressing her in Denim d'Hameau is not pushing the envelope.
The silly play on the (past) Chanel vocabulary: biker jackets, ballskirts, bustiers, chain trim and chain gang belts, along with quilting on leather garments and accessories left little mystery as to the origin of their inspiration. What was fun and refreshing was the message all of those elements communicated. Youthful, sexy hyper femininity is what came across. It didn't take a hall filled with a a polar ice cap, the grounds of Versailles or a world beneath the sea with Florence and the Machine supplying the soundtrack. A simple, outdated payphone and some dirt on the floor with a foxy Cara Delevigne gets the point across. It was short, very short and sweet. Even the derigeur yellow chemise and tweed jackets over micro shorts had a come hither quality not seen at the Rue Cambon in too long. It's no wonder that a day after the Dsquared presentation, Chanel's lawyers printed a full page cease and desist letter to all those who dare use Chanel-isms like "biker jackets, gold chain and quilting". I, for one, don't see what all the fuss is. Perhaps Lagerfeld should get his head out of his library and get out and mingle.