So it's a trend now?
Highly anticipated, major designer flagships are quietly opening without fanfare at slightly unlikely moments. Last week it was Goyard's New York outpost only a few days before Christmas, and this week DSquared2's SoHo showplace shed its plywood and opened its doors just a couple of days before New Year's Eve. Even the brand's website still lists it as "coming soon", but the new standard policy now seems to be "Open the doors as soon as they are ready and worry about publicity later". Maybe this is what happens when there's already a first U.S. flagship somewhere in California? Anyway, we heard that DSquared2 was open from our friends at Racked, so we hightailed it down to SoHo to check out the new place.
We have to admit that it has been a few years since The Shophound was a fully fledged DSquared2 fanatic. Back then, it was just a small menswear cult label created by Dean and Dan Caten, a zany pair of identical twins from Canada, that was beginning to make inroads in the U.S. It seemed like each season they were inspired by a different male archetype plucked from the works of Tom of Finland —grease monkey one season, cowboy the next, etc. We still have the clothes, and we can still fit into most of them, sort of, but our fashion obsession has migrated to other labels since then. In the meantime, DSquared2 has grown up a bit. They still make super-skimpy men's bathing suits and tight jeans, but now offer a line of more classically tailored clothing along with the denim and multichromatic sneakers. Of course, they haven't become as predictable and redundant as Dolce & Gabbana quite yet, and their prison themed Fall 2014 men's collection shows that they can still be blithely provocative and even kind of inappropriate. Though the Caten twins have made their name as master showmen, the new DSquared2 boutique is a surprisingly hushed and subdued setting for their label. Sleek black and brown wood paneled walls make it seem almost minimalistic until they are punctuated by lighting fixtures made of antlers, a nod to their Canadian heritage. Their wit is now more subdued, but open a dressing room door and you'll find the illusion of a woodland alcove, another wink at the Great White North. At the moment, the menswear selection in the store is mixed between a smattering of Fall basics (now on sale) and the first bits of Spring deliveries just coming in with a more complete selection of classic suits and bright sneakers filling out the shelves and racks. You have to go upstairs to the second floor home of the women's collection to get the full effect of the Catens' flashier, campier sensibility. There, shoppers will currently find a capsule collection of vividly colored cocktail and eveningwear with jewel encrusted details along with mink trimmed remnants of the Fall line and more early Spring deliveries. Though SoHo has quieted down substantially this week after the always bustling Holiday season, the new store's staff was pleasantly friendly on a quiet Monday afternoon without, thankfully, being smothering the way brand new store's sales associates can be. Look for some opening fanfare closer to Fashion Week next month. After all, The Catens have never struck anyone as the types to forgo a splashy party, so keep an eye out for some belated fanfare sometime soon.
DSquared2 402 West Broadway at Spring Street, SoHo