I always loved style.
Fashion for the sake of fashion may be not so much, but style, yes.
At the age of eleven or twelve I was a punk rocker; it was as much about the music as it was about the look; I adopted the look of various urban tribes afterwards, with always the same attention to detail when it came to clothes. When I reached the age of majority I adopted a sort of preppy/English gentry look; in those days it was all about Ralph Lauren. You simply did not exist (at least in places like the law school I attended) if you did not have a little polo player on your chest.
Later, the Italian designers came on the scene, and despite an interest in them I was never really happy with the fit, especially when it came to the trousers. A lot of thought went into the general design (fabric, pockets, logo…) but the cuts were atrocious, they were just like big bags for your legs. They were OK for tall guys but did not fit my silhouette at all.
A decade later, and for a few years, I started buying the cheap high street labels, H&M, Zara and the likes. At least the cuts were nice by then, the whole industry seemed to have gotten its act together.
I would buy the odd higher-end item, by Dolce&Gabbana, Paul Smith, Fiorentini & Baker…I remember seeing Dsquared items when browsing around in one of the big department stores, but at the time I confused it with “Desigual”, which many people do – to this day. I kind of remember a pink shirt that caught my attention once, but little more.
Then in the spring of 2009 I came across a pair of Dsquared swimming shorts. I was blown away: they looked like nothing I had ever seen before. Yellow belt with navy adjustment tabs, white front, navy back and red on the sides. They were just superb. The price was €230 if I remember well, which was a multiple of what I would normally have spent, especially on something I’d only wear a few days per year.
Back home with my new shorts I looked up the brand online (I think the online store was just starting) and very quickly I started to get hooked to the style sported by Dean and Dan Caten, the designers behind the brand.
These swimming trunks were just the beginning, and since that day I have no idea of many months, or years of wages I have spent on various Dsquared items, but the Canadian Twins must have had many a wild party indirectly paid by yours truly!
Why would I love a brand? From a philosophical point of view, this actually sounds quite mediocre. I therefore want to clarify that it is not the brand per se (as in name, logo, exclusivity…) that I love, but the style created by the twins; this mix of tailoring and casual wear, which has been copied by so many since.
The fact that the designers are rather short in stature also means that they make clothes that fit me! Not just stuff designed for American baseball players. A “Small” at Ralph Lauren is sometimes similar to an “L” or equivalent (50) at Dsquared.
Why “turbulent love affair” as the title of this post suggest? Well precisely because I own (or sometimes I have owned and then re-sold) so many items, from footwear to ready-to-wear, from the classic collection to fragrances and accessories…that I know the brand pretty well, and I can now assess an item with a critical eye. Some of my Dsquared possessions are treasured for their craftmanship and quality, others could nearly have been thrown in the bin after being worn only once.
This is why I want to share on this blog the good, the bad, and the ugly about my favourite brand.
Dean and Dan said in an interview that they did not get much feedback, I hope my posts and may be the comments of some readers will help providing some.
Incidentally the aforementioned swimming trunks did not last long, as while on a trip to Spain, a nugget of petrol from an oil tanker in the distance decided to float towards the shore…and destroyed my shorts on day two of my holidays in the sun. And I never found any model I loved as much since. Ah well…