MILAN, Italy — “Bondi Bitches…” chanted one twin. “…In Bondage,” the other one chimed in. “They come to surf, they stay to party.” Their men’s presentation in June was about surfer dudes as nature’s free-spirited nomads — and the tattoo body stockings were carried over here — but the women who came down the Catens’ catwalk on Saturday looked like they could devour those boys alive, and swallow the bones. The show began with an ominous fragment of the Jaws theme. You didn’t have to look far to find a man-eater. Hair still wet, sheathed in second-skin neoprene, she stalked down the catwalk on lethal heels bound to her foot with surf leashes (same things that attach your board to your foot in the water).
That second skin became a theme. So did the binding, like the leather straps that gripped a jacket to one model’s torso. And the shoes? Well, there was some pretty tentative movement on the runway. It rather subtracted from the high-energy optimism that usually drives a DSquared2 show. True, it's that time in the calendar when everyone's moving a little slower, craving rest, but that notion is utterly antithetical to Catens-a-go-go.
And once the first downbeat thought kicked in, some others followed. Like, for example, the echoes of other designers in the clothes: Nicolas Ghesquière’s graphic, sculpted scuba collection for Balenciaga; Hervé Léger’s original bandage dresses; even the metal mesh and extravagant beading of vintage Versace. It felt like the Catens’ own personalities were slightly submerged. You only have to look back to DSquared2's Autumn collection to see how hard that is to believe, but the feeling certainly gelled with the uncertain air of this presentation. Guess man-eating is exhausting work.