MILAN, Italy — Given fashion’s intractable production schedules, you could scarcely expect a quick response to the horror of this week’s mass murder in Orlando, but Dean and Dan Caten showed solidarity with their rainbow scarves at show’s end, a kind of coming out for them.
And, in an unwitting way, the clothes they offered also broadcast a response. “Glam butchness,” Dean declared. A sequined jacket with silver leather pants certainly nailed that look. If his comment was typically throwaway, there was a germ of truth in the fact that the platform-booted boys marching down the catwalk scarcely looked like anyone you’d want to tangle with. Those glitter boots were made for kickin’, even if the guys wearing them were reduced to an uncomfortable mince. They needed Dean and Dan in crystallised thigh-highs to show them how it was really done when they stalked the catwalk at the finale.
And that, in turn, crystallised the problem with this show. The Catens are always looking for ways to elevate their core product — jeans, bomber jackets, tailored blazers — and they have become supremely accomplished at mounting spectacles that do just that. But tonight felt off.
A lot of that was to do with the hobbled awkwardness of the boys in their platform bovver boots. But there was also an overly literal feeling to the collection: a tightly fitted check shirt paired with splatter-bleach jeans was all but un=reconstituted skinhead. Maybe that's what Dean meant by "glam butchness," but the collision of British youth cults on the Catens' catwalk — mod, skins, glam — missed the winning wit and verve that are the label's long-time signatures.