Since they were baby twins looking at fashion magazines, Dean and Dan Caten have always loved a pose. The sculpted volumes of their new collection got them free-associating all over the place. When Elisabeth Erm held her position in a pair of rounded, cropped pants cut from silk raffia, her legs reminded Dean of a centaur’s.
That fabric, woven in vibrant color-blocks that were reminiscent of Sonia Delaunay’s textiles, was a key component of the Catens’ new collection. So were allover beadwork—on sweatshirts, slouchy pants, and thigh-high boots—and torrents of frothy plissé. As lighthearted as that sounds, it pointed to a new seriousness of purpose for the twins. They’ve always been great technicians, but that skill has often been obscured by their showmanship. If their presentation today was as large-scaled as ever, it was set against the neutral backdrop of a New York artist’s loft, a somewhat higher-brow location than the B-movie scenarios—women’s prisons or Hollywood lunatic asylums—they’ve been drawn to in the past. There was a new emphasis on form and craft. Leather bonded to jersey was cut into light, athletic little shell tops. Even T-shirts were double-faced to give them a little more structure.
Which is not to say the Catens have turned their backs on the style that has built them an empire, its latest outpost the store that just opened on Rodeo Drive. The collection was actually shaped by a running high-low dialogue. So a floor-length skirt of scalloped plissé was shown with a cropped denim jacket, the same billowing piece was cut from the Delaunay-patterned silk raffia and paired with a cropped white tee. And a peplum-ed jacket in gold leather topped a pair of the boyfriend jeans that are a Caten classic. They love this idea—pants slouched to reveal branded briefs “borrowed from a boyfriend.”